Ophiomyia lantanae

Ophiomyia lantanae (Froggatt, 1919)

Ophiomyia lantanae is an example of an agromyzid fly with a beneficial potential because the larvae live within the seeds of a noxious weed.
For identification the study of the male genitalia is necessary. Other characters of the male is the form of the vibrissal fasciculus (Oph lantanae head Sp.pct), the shape of the genae and the conspicuous keel dividing the antennae (Spencer, 1973).

The larvae feed in the seed heads, either in the pulp of immature berries or lower in the peduncle, where pupation takes place (Spencer and Steyskal, 1986).

Lantana camara and other Lantana spp. (Verbenaceae). Lantana camara, sometimes cultivated as ornamental, has become a weed in several tropical areas where it was cultivated.

Apparently widespread in the tropical parts of the Americas. Known from Southern California, Florida, Texas, Argentina, Brazil, Caribbean area, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama. Furthermore, the species was often introduced into areas of the old World tropics. This happened both deliberately (for weed control) or inadvertently together with Lantana plants or seeds. Now the species has become established in parts of South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Micronesia, Fiji, India and Hawaii, Sri Lanka.

Ophiomyia lantanae is not a pest species, instead it received some attention as a potential control agent for Lantana, which is an introduced weed in various tropical areas (compare Calycomyza lantanae). However, the efficacy of the lantana podfly as control agent is a matter of debate (s. Spencer, 1973, Broughton, 1999). Several authors (Broughton, 1999 and more authors cited therein) stated that infestation of the seeds did not reduce the fertility of them significantly, because the embryo is usually not affected by the agromyzid.