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Breaking News: New Species of Fly from GSMNP

leah kirk

A new article by Michael Ferro and John Plakidas describes a new species of fly that was collected in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Neostenoptera appalachiensis is a gall midge, and it is the first record of the genus Neostenoptera in the New World.

The specific name, appalachiensis, means “from the Appalachians” in Latin, in reference to the collection site of the type series from Tennessee, which is located along the western flank of the Appalachian Mountains.

“I collected this 10 years ago and couldn’t figure out what it was,” Ferro said. “I put it on and finally John D. Plakidas recognized it as something he might be able to recognize. Amazingly, he figured out it was in the genus Neostenoptera. That genus is only known from one species described from copal (young amber) from Africa, and another species that was collected alive in the Congo.”

The list of crane flies (Diptera: Ptychopteridae, Tipuloidea, Trichoceridae) known from Great Smoky Mountains National Park is being updated. Sampling in association with the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory of Great Smoky Mountains National Park resulted in the addition of 107 new Park records, bringing the current list to 250 species. This species assemblage is much richer than those of surrounding areas, although similar in composition. Total richness is estimated to be between 450 and 500 species for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is unknown how this will affect fly tying this winter or if there will be a shortage of small hooks at fly shops as tiers prepare for this news.