Thyreophora cynophila

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Thyreophora cynophila
Thyreophora cynophila (Plate by Jacob Sturm )
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Piophilidae
Subfamily: Thyreophorinae
Tribe: Thyreophorini
Meigen, 1803
Species:T. cynophila
Binomial name
Thyreophora cynophila
(Panzer, 1798)
  • Musca cynophilaPanzer, 1798

Thyreophora cynophila, commonly known as the bone skipper [1] is a species of fly, once thought to be the first fly to be driven to extinction by humans, but rediscovered in 2009. [1] It has a bright orange head, and is associated with animal carcasses where the bones are broken open.

In biology, a species ( ) is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more closely they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, and in a ring species. Also, among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, and each clone is potentially a microspecies.

Fly order of insects

Flies are insects with a pair of functional wings for flight and a pair of vestigial hindwings called halteres for balance. They are classified as an order called Diptera, that name being derived from the Greek δι- di- "two", and πτερόν pteron "wings". The order Diptera is divided into two suborders, with about 110 families divided between them; the families contain an estimated 1,000,000 species, including the familiar housefly, horse-fly, crane fly, and hoverfly; although only about 125,000 species have a species description published. The earliest fly fossils found so far are from the Triassic, about 240 million years ago; phylogenetic analysis suggests that flies originated in the Permian, about 260 million years ago.

Human Common name of Homo sapiens

Humans are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina. Together with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, they are part of the family Hominidae. A terrestrial animal, humans are characterized by their erect posture and bipedal locomotion; high manual dexterity and heavy tool use compared to other animals; open-ended and complex language use compared to other animal communications; larger, more complex brains than other animals; and highly advanced and organized societies.


Meigen's figure (7 male, female, dissection) of Thyreophora cynophila in Europaischen Zweiflugeligen EuropaischenZweiflugeligen1790CL.jpg
Meigen's figure (7 male, female, dissection) of Thyreophora cynophila in Europäischen Zweiflügeligen


Thyreophora cynophila was originally described by Georg Wolfgang Franz Panzer in 1798, under the name Musca cynophila. He described it in German as Hundefliege ("dog-fly"), having found it on the carcass of a dog in Mannheim. [2] The animal is nearly 10 millimetres (0.39 in) long, and the head is bright orange in colour, while the body and legs are metallic blue; the wings bear a pair of black spots. [2] In 1803, Johann Wilhelm Meigen transferred the species to a new genus, Thyreophora, which means "shield-bearer", in reference to the enlarged scutellum in the male. [2] (The name Thyreophora is also used for a dinosaur suborder.) [2] Later reports extended the species' geographical range to include France and Austria, and some reported that the fly had a luminous head. [2]

Georg Wolfgang Franz Panzer was a German botanist and entomologist.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Dog domestic animal

The domestic dog is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.


The species was not recorded in the wild after 1850, and was long considered to be extinct. [3] Reasons suggested for its disappearance include changes in livestock management, and the loss of predatory megafauna; in either case, the scarcity of large carcasses with partly crushed bones, which would allow the insects to reach the medullary cavity and the bone marrow, denied the fly its likely breeding habitat. [4]

Extinction Termination of a taxon by the death of the last member

In biology, extinction is the termination of an organism or of a group of organisms (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point. Because a species' potential range may be very large, determining this moment is difficult, and is usually done retrospectively. This difficulty leads to phenomena such as Lazarus taxa, where a species presumed extinct abruptly "reappears" after a period of apparent absence.

Megafauna large or giant animals

In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are large or giant animals. The most common thresholds used are weight over 40 kilograms (90 lb) or 44 kilograms (100 lb) or over a tonne, 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lb). The first of these include many species not popularly thought of as overly large, such as white-tailed deer and red kangaroo.

Medullary cavity

The medullary cavity is the central cavity of bone shafts where red bone marrow and/or yellow bone marrow is stored; hence, the medullary cavity is also known as the marrow cavity. Located in the main shaft of a long bone (diaphysis), the medullary cavity has walls composed of spongy bone and is lined with a thin, vascular membrane (endosteum). However, the medullary cavity is the area inside any bone that holds the bone marrow.


In late 2009, an amateur photographer took a photograph of a fly that he did not recognise in the Sierra de Cebollera natural park in La Rioja (Spain), and sought help in identifying from entomologists. After initially assuming that the species must be tropical, one of them realised the fly's identity. The team found live specimens at the same natural park in early 2010 and published their discovery in August 2010. The authors speculated that one reason the fly had gone unrecorded for 160 years is because it feeds on large rotting carcasses, mainly at night and in the winter; locations and times at which entomologists are unlikely to collect specimens. [1] [4] The species has been found on 11 different sites in the Iberian Mountains in La Rioja located between 900 and 1,400 m.a.s.l. covering an area of approximately 76,500 hectares. [5]

Natural park (Spain)

In Spain, a natural park is a natural space protected for its biology, geology, or landscape, with ecological, aesthetic, educational, or scientific value whose preservation merits preferential attention on the part of public administration. The regulation of the activities that may occur there attempts to assure its protection. Natural parks focus their attention on the conservation and maintenance of flora, fauna, and terrain. Natural parks may be maritime or terrestrial and can be in the mountains, along the coasts, in the desert, or any other geographically defined space.

La Rioja (Spain) Autonomous community and province of Spain

La Rioja is an autonomous community and a province in Spain, located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Its capital is Logroño. Other cities and towns in the province include Calahorra, Arnedo, Alfaro, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and Nájera. It has an estimated population of 315,675 inhabitants, making it the least populated region of Spain.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Related Research Articles

Piophilidae family of insects

The Piophilidae are a family of "true flies", in the order Diptera. The so-called cheese flies are the best-known members, but most species of the Piophilidae are scavengers in animal products, carrion, and fungi. They may accordingly be important in forensic entomology and medical entomology. For a fly maggot, the larvae of many species have an unusually well-developed ability to leap when alarmed or when abandoning their larval food to pupate; they accordingly may be known as cheese skippers or other kinds of skippers according to their food source.

Forensic entomology

Forensic entomology is the scientific study of the invasion of the succession pattern of arthropods with their developmental stages of different species found on the decomposed cadavers during legal investigations. It is the application and study of insect and other arthropod biology to criminal matters. It also involves the application of the study of arthropods, including insects, arachnids, centipedes, millipedes, and crustaceans to criminal or legal cases. It is primarily associated with death investigations; however, it may also be used to detect drugs and poisons, determine the location of an incident, and find the presence and time of the infliction of wounds. Forensic entomology can be divided into three subfields: urban, stored-product and medico-legal/medico-criminal entomology.

Flesh fly family of insects

Flies in the family Sarcophagidae are commonly known as flesh flies. They differ from most flies in that they are ovoviviparous, opportunistically depositing hatched or hatching maggots instead of eggs on carrion, dung, decaying material, or open wounds of mammals, hence their common name. Some flesh fly larvae are internal parasites of other insects such as Orthoptera, and some, in particular the Miltogramminae, are kleptoparasites of solitary Hymenoptera. The adults mostly feed on fluids from animal bodies, nectar, sweet foods, fluids from animal waste and other organic substances. Juveniles need protein to develop and may be laid on carrion, dung or sweet plant foods.

Lazarus taxon A taxon that disappears from the fossil record, only to reappear later

In paleontology, a Lazarus taxon is a taxon that disappears for one or more periods from the fossil record, only to appear again later. Likewise in conservation biology and ecology, it can refer to species or populations that were thought to be extinct, and are rediscovered. The term Lazarus taxon was coined by Karl W. Flessa; & David Jablonski in 1983 and was then expanded by Jablonski in 1986. Wignall and Benton defined Lazarus taxon as, ‘At times of biotic crisis many taxa go extinct, but others only temporarily disappeared from the fossil record, often for intervals measured in millions of years, before reappearing unchanged’. Earlier work also supports the concept though without using the name Lazarus taxon, like work by Christopher R. C. Paul.

Mepraia genus of insects

Mepraia is a genus in the subfamily Triatominae, endemic of Chile, and vector of Chagas disease. Currently this genus contains 3 species Mepraia spinolai, Mepraia gajardoi and Mepraia parapatrica.

Mormotomyiidae family of insects

The family Mormotomyiidae contains only one known species, Mormotomyia hirsuta, commonly known as the frightful hairy fly or terrible hairy fly, which is found in Kenya. The fly was first described by English entomologist Ernest Edward Austen, and specimens have been collected from one location on a mountain in the Ukasi Hill, in a cleft where a bat roost is located; this may possibly be the most restricted geographic distribution for any fly family. The larvae have been collected from bat guano. Adult flies are believed to feed on bodily secretions of bats. The fly measures about 1 cm long, with hairy legs, and, due to its nonfunctional wings and tiny eyes, looks more like a spider than a fly. Specimens have been collected only three times, in 1933, 1948, and 2010. Tested members of the population showed higher levels of genetic variation than would be expected for such a restricted range, suggesting additional undiscovered populations exist and gene flow occurs between them and the known population in Ukasi Hill.

The La Palma giant lizard is a giant lacertid historically living on the island of La Palma ; its habitat ranged from sea level up to altitudes of 800 m.

<i>Cynomya mortuorum</i> species of insect

Cynomya mortuorum belongs to the order Diptera, sometimes referred to as "true flies". In English, the only common name occasionally used is "fly of the dead". It has a bluish-green appearance, similar to other Calliphoridae and is found in multiple geographic locations with a preference for colder regions. Belonging to the family Calliphoridae, it has been shown to have forensically relevant implications due to its appearance on carrion. Current research is being done to determine C. mortuorum's level of importance and usage within forensic entomology.

Medicolegal entomology is a branch of forensic entomology that applies the study of insects to criminal investigations, and is commonly used in death investigations for estimating the post-mortem interval (PMI). One method of obtaining this estimate uses the time and pattern of arthropod colonization. This method will provide an estimation of the period of insect activity, which may or may not correlate exactly with the time of death. While insect successional data may not provide as accurate an estimate during the early stages of decomposition as developmental data, it is applicable for later decompositional stages and can be accurate for periods up to a few years.

<i>Ameles decolor</i> species of insect

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<i>Brachypelma albiceps</i> species of arachnid

Brachypelma albiceps is a species of spider in the family Theraphosidae (tarantulas). It is known as the Mexican golden red rump tarantula or the Amula red rump tarantula. The carapace is a light golden color and the abdomen dark, covered with long red hairs. Females typically live for about 15 years. Males usually live about 5 years or up to 12 months after the last molt.

Osoriinae subfamily of insects

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<i>Acanthinodera cumingii</i> species of insect

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Polyommatus (Agrodiaetus) violetae, the Andalusian anomalous blue, is a species of butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It is found in the south and south-east of Spain. Adults are on wing from July to August.

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<i>Arocatus melanocephalus</i> species of insect

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  1. 1 2 3 Rowan Hooper (September 22, 2010). "Zoologger: Horror fly returns from the dead". New Scientist.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Danial Martín-Vega, Arturo Beza & Verner Michelsen (2010). "Back from the dead: Thyreophora cynophila (Panzer, 1798) (Diptera: Piophilidae) 'globally extinct' fugitive in Spain". Systematic Entomology . 35 (4): 607–613. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2010.00541.x.
  3. Matt Walker (September 17, 2010). "'Mythical' extinct fly rediscovered after 160 years". BBC News . Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  4. 1 2 Miguel Carles-Tolrá, Pablo C. Rodríguez & Julio Verdú (2010). "Thyreophora cynophila (Panzer, 1794): collected in Spain 160 years after it was thought to be extinct (Diptera: Piophilidae: Thyreophorini)" (PDF). Boletín de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa (S.E.A.). 46: 1–7.
  5. Carlos Zaldívar Ezquerro, Pablo C. Rodríguez & F. Javier Gómez Vargas (2011). "Thyreophora cynophila (Panzer, 1798) (Diptera: Piophilidae: Thyreophorini): Distribution area in La Rioja (Spain)" (PDF). Boletín de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa (S.E.A.). 48: 403–405.