Neotropical Copestylum Macquart (Diptera: Syrphidae) Breeding in Fruits and Flowers, Including 7 New Species

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 18;10(11):e0142441. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142441. eCollection 2015.


Ten species of Copestylum (Diptera: Syrphidae) were reared from fruits and flowers in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Trinidad. Seven were new and in this paper, we describe them, their development sites and the third stage larva and/or the puparium of all ten species. One new synonym is proposed, Copestylum pinkusi (Curran) [= Copestylum cinctiventre (Curran)]. Similarities and differences between these new and other Copestylum species, suggest they separate into two groups, referred to as the Vagum and Cinctiventre species groups. Features characterising these groups for both adult and early stages are assessed. Each species was also distinguished using adult and early stage characters. Within the Vagum group, adults were more disparate morphologically than the larval stage; this was reversed in the Cinctiventre group. Adult colour patterns are probably cryptic in function and for disguise. Vagum species have disruptive marks, while the Cinctiventre species have reflective colours. Biologically, the groups are almost distinguished by larval development sites. Vagum species use predominantly fruits and have a larval stage that is relatively generalised in form and habit. Cinctiventre species are confined to developing in flowers and the larva is more specialised. A key to both adult and early stages of all ten species is provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Costa Rica
  • Diptera / classification
  • Diptera / growth & development*
  • Ecuador
  • Flowers
  • Fruit
  • Larva / classification
  • Larva / growth & development*
  • Species Specificity*
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Grants and funding

Fieldwork was funded by the AECID, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación (A/4426/05, A/6788/06, A/3415/05, A/020305/08 and A/019887/08; The taxonomic study was funded by the S.W. Williston Diptera Research Fund of the Smithsonian Institution ( and the Pelham-Clinton Fellowship Fund of the National Museums Scotland (E.C. Pelham-Clinton Fellowship, reference NMS10/73;