oa Annals of the Natal Museum - Drosophilidae (Diptera) of Malawi

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0304-0798



This paper, the first on the Drosophilidae of Malawi, records 76 species from the northern, central and southern parts of the country. These species belong to 11 genera comprising 14 subgenera, and 26 species groups (including 29 species subgroups). Keys are provided for Amiota, Apenthecia, the Drosophila fima group, Liodrosophila and Mycodrosophila species from Malawi. Sixteen new species are descriptionbed: Amiota bandai, Apenthecia argyrea, A. obscura, Drosophila adamisa, D. brachytarsa, D. seyanii, D. curta, D. dimitroides, D. neomitra, D. seguyiana, Lissocephala bergi, L. kamundii, L. sosefi, Mycodrosophila dudleyi, M. nigrans, and Scaptodrosophila melaena. Five species are suspected to be new, but are left undescriptionbed because of lack of material. Five of the fifteen species from Nyika are new. Thus, in spite of extensive Brachystegia woodland - not much suitable to Drosophilidae - it appears that the Malawian fauna is unexpectedly speciose. Although Apenthecia capitata was not found in Malawi, we redescriptionbe it and include it in the key presented below; drawings are also given for Lissocephala ambigua, which was hitherto unfigured. New combination: Drosophila lucida Séguy, 1938 = Liodrosophila lucida (Séguy). Some montane species of the dentissima group have non-overlapping geographical ranges in Malawi, between the Nyika and Viphya Plateau. The Nyika highlands would have more connections with the Western Border Range to the northwest of Lake Tanganyika, while the Viphya highlands would have more affinities with southern mountain ranges. Drosophilidae of the Nyika Plateau reveal also Madagascan and oriental links, and provide some interesting indices supporting the antiquity of the evergreen forest on the plateau. Most notably, a new species of the robusta group, Drosophila seyanii, represents the first afrotropical record of this mainly oriental (but also holarctic) species group. A striking feature of the ecological relationships of African drosophilids is the consistency with which members of particular taxa (Mycodrosophila on fungus, Apenthecia on Aloe, Lissocephala on green figs, the Drosophila fima species group on red-black figs, or the Scaptodrosophila aterrima species group on Tubiflorales) use the same breeding substrate. Many such associations are documented in Malawi, and these are discussed.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error