Corethrellidae

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Corethrellidae
Temporal range: Cretaceous-Recent, 110–0Ma
Corethrella wing veins.svg
Wing venation R1 is short
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Nematocera
Infraorder: Culicomorpha
Superfamily: Culicoidea
Family: Corethrellidae
Genera

Corethrella Freeman, 1962[1]
Lutzomiops

The Corethrellidae are a family of parasitic midges, small flying insects belonging to the order Diptera, that are commonly known to parasitize frogs. The members of the family are sometimes known as "frog-biting midges". The family currently consists of just two genera, totalling around 97 species worldwide. Several fossil species are known. Most extant species are found in the lower latitudes, usually associated around the tropics.[1]

They are tiny flies with a wing length of 0.6-2.5 mm. The wing venation is similar to Culicidae (R 4 branched, M 2 branched,Cu 2 branched) with branches of Rs and M nearly parallel. R1 is, however, closer to Sc or almost midway between Sc and R2.They were until 1986 placed as a subfamily of Culicidae.

Adult female Corethrella are attracted to the mating calls of male frogs, their chosen host taxa. As obligate external parasites, the midges feed almost exclusively on the blood of these frogs. Because of this, Corethrella follow typical distribution patterns of external parasites and are restricted to only areas with abundant populations of their host frogs. Female midges most likely detect their hosts using a specialized organ called a Johnston's organ, a collection of sensory cells found on the second antenna segment. There is evidence of host specificity and selection of particular biting sites for some species.[1] Corethrella species have been observed sucking blood from individuals of the tree frog genus Hyla. Specifically, the North American tree frog species Hyla avivoca, Hyla cinerea and Hyla gratiosa were recorded as confirmed corethrellid hosts in a 1977 study.[2]

A few, select species are known vectors of frog-specific species of the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma. Corethrellid parasitism is thus a recorded cause of trypanosomiasis among host frog populations.[1][3]

The family contains members that date to the lower Cretaceous Period some 110 million years ago. At least one species, Corethrella andersoni, has been found in Burmese amber deposits dating from this time.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Art Borkent (2008). "The Frog-Biting Midges of the World (Corethrellidae: Diptera)". Zootaxa 1804: 456 pp. ISBN 978-1-86977-212-3. Retrieved January 19, 2009. 
  2. ^ S. McKeever (1977). "Observations of Corethrella feeding on tree frogs (Hyla)". Mosquito News 37: 522–523. 
  3. ^ Sturgis McKeever & Frank E. French (2000). "Corethrellidae (Diptera), Vectors of Present and Perhaps Some of the Earliest Anuran Trypanosomes". Department of Biology, Georgia Southern University. Retrieved January 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ George O. Poinar & Ryszard Szadziewski (2007). "Corethrella andersoni (Diptera: Corethrellidae), A new species from Lower Cretaceous Burmese amber". Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 109 (1): 155–159. 

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