Melanophora roralis

Woodlouse Fly
Melanophora roralis

Woodlouse Flies Melanophora roralis mating on brick wall. Oct. 04, 2017 Leamington, Ontario.
Woodlouse Flies Melanophora roralis mating on brick wall. Oct. 04, 2017 Leamington, Ontario.

Identification: Introduced from Europe
Head: Face black, some white pile below antenna base. Top of head, between eyes silvery gray-back on each side, dull black stripe down center. Eyes not touching on either male or female. Long black hair under mouth area.
Antenna: Black, tiny nubs. Bristle (arista) long, curved and covered with hair.
Thorax: Black, shiny. In certain lights, a slight silvery sheen.

Woodlouse Flies Melanophora roralis mating on brick wall. Oct. 04, 2017 Leamington, Ontario. White tip on wing of female.
Woodlouse Flies Melanophora roralis mating on brick wall. Oct. 04, 2017 Leamington, Ontario. White tip on wing of female.

Wings: Black. Female has large white tip. Cell near to middle of wing is short (Cell M), leaving a long petiole (or line) extending to wing tip (R 4+5). Wings can be a lighter black on newly emerged adults. Calypteres whitish on male, darker on female. Halteres dark.
Legs: Black, feet (tarsi) very long. Very few bristles on legs.
Abdomen: Long, tapered. Last 2 segments bristled, tachinid-like.


Size:
3 to 5.5 mm – size varies according to host.

Habitat: Old forests, damp areas along shorelines.

Food: Unknown, does not visit flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-May to October.

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs on substrates close to sow or pill bugs (Woodlice). Larvae hatch and attach themselves to their host, devouring it. Then pupate inside the pill bug. Pupa are orange, the same size as the host.  Adults have been observed vibrating their wings when walking.

Comments: Essex County – Lake Erie Island.

Synonyms: Linnaeus 1758
Musca roralis Linnaeus, 1758
Musca grossificationis Linnaeus, 1758
Musca interventum Harris, 1780
Musca atra Villers, 1789
Illigeria atra Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830
Illigeria minor Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830
Melanophora atra Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830
Tachina plumigera Wiedemann, 1830
Melanophora distincta Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830
Melanophora festiva Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830
Melanophora violacea Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830
Melanophora nigerrima Macquart, 1834
Melanophora stygia Harris, 1835
Melanophora americana Macquart, 1843
Tachina interlapsa Walker, 1853
Melanophora appendiculata Macquart, 1855
Melanophora brasiliensis Robineau-Desvoidy, 1863
Melanophora nitidiventris Curran, 1928
All synonyms are European, except Curran, 1928 – information not available.

References:
Entomological News, 1903, Vol. 14: A Dexiid Parasite of the Sow-Bug by Brues, pg. 291.
Draft Key to British Calliphoridae and Rhinophoridae, 2016 by Falk, pg. 73.

Types: Unknown

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