Archytas aurifrons, Townsend

Last week I spent a happy afternoon at the BMNH, courtesy of Erica & Nigel in the Diptera department. I decided to concentrate on a few genera and try to identify a few neotropical specimens. My first was Archytas, a large genus with many very similar species, because I have a few quite atypical taxa in my collection.

Normal Archytas are usually medium/large flies with a black body and a dusted thorax with a slight bloom/cast on T1-4. But my atypical ones are smaller and more glossy with orange abdominal side-patches, so I thought that they might be a good candidate to track down. After a few drawers I found just what I wanted – a block of 3 species that looked similar to mine. Archytas aurifrons was by far the commonest, with many specimens from Brazil, and it fitted mine better because the frons has golden dusting, while the other species seem either less dusted or with white/silver dusting. But, to be honest, the others (inambaricus & dissimilis – ironically very similar!) seem to have a lot of overlapping morphology and the chances of working out why they were split are minimal because the original authors are unlikely to have described them very well!

My specimens are pictured here:

Below are some photos of the BMNH’s specimens – used courtesy of the BMNH curators:

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