Melanoclusia Lonsdale & Marshall

Melanoclusia bivibrissa Lonsdale & Marshall

Owen Lonsdale and Steve Marshall
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Containing group: Clusiidae


Melanoclusia Lonsdale & Marshall is represented by the single species M. bivibrissa Lonsdale & Marshall, which is known from only one male and one female from Borneo (Lonsdale & Marshall, 2008). While not observed in the field, the unusual colouration and chaetotaxy of this species suggests that behaviour plays an important role as a secondary sexual character – this has been documented in many other species of Clusiidae with similar morphology, including those in the behaviourally fascinating Heteromeringia Czerny, Clusiodes Coquillett and Hendelia Czerny. The discovery of this genus is significant in that it has important ramifications for understanding the evolutionary history and biogeography of the Clusiidae, both as a “missing link” in the subfamily Clusiinae and as the sister-group to the common Holarctic/Oriental genus Clusia Haliday.


Melanoclusia is unusual in appearance, differing from Clusia (the most closely related genus) and all other Clusiidae in having only one pair of dorsocentral bristles, no dorsal preapical tibial bristles, a vibrissa-like anterior genal bristle, a shiny frons with no interfrontal bristles, a rounded frons and face, a white vein dm-cu and dark colouration. The external male genitalia are similar to those of Clusia, but the internal components are unusual in that they are extremely elongate, projecting far into the abdomen.

Relationship of Melanoclusia bivibrissa to other Clusiidae

Reduced postverticals and male-specific characters support a relationship with Clusia, but Melanoclusia bivibrissa lacks all of the distinct external synapomorphies used to separate that genus from other Clusiidae (interfrontal bristles, pubescent arista and striped scutellum). It is for this reason that Melanoclusia bivibrissa is treated as the sister group to Clusia and not a highly derived basal species of that genus. The male characters supporting a relationship between Melanoclusia and Clusia include the following: two rows of posteroventral bristles on the fore and mid femora (also found in the Chilean Clusiidae and Clusiodes), an inner-basal spur on a small, triangular surstylus, a uniquely-shaped pregonite (long, thin, minutely setulose along length and closely-associated with base of phallapodeme) and absence of the lateral lobes of the distiphallus (independently lost in some Sobarocephalinae and most Clusiodinae).

Other Names for Melanoclusia bivibrissa Lonsdale & Marshall


Lonsdale, O. & Marshall, S.A. 2008. Synonymy within Clusia and description of the new genus Melanoclusia (Diptera: Clusiidae: Clusiinae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 101(2): 327-330

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Scientific Name Melanoclusia bivibrissa Lonsdale & Marshall
Location Malaysia. Borneo
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By O. Lonsdale
Sex Male
Life Cycle Stage Adult
Body Part Head, dorsal (abdomen removed)
Collection USNM
Type Holotype
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © Owen Lonsdale
About This Page

Owen Lonsdale
Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids & Nematodes

Steve Marshall
University of Guelph, Canada

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Owen Lonsdale at and Steve Marshall at

Page: Tree of Life Melanoclusia Lonsdale & Marshall. Melanoclusia bivibrissa Lonsdale & Marshall. Authored by Owen Lonsdale and Steve Marshall. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Lonsdale, Owen and Steve Marshall. 2009. Melanoclusia Lonsdale & Marshall. Melanoclusia bivibrissa Lonsdale & Marshall. Version 24 November 2009. in The Tree of Life Web Project,

edit this page
close box

This page is a Tree of Life Leaf Page.

Each ToL leaf page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a leaf at the tip of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a leaf and a branch of the Tree of Life is that a leaf cannot generally be further subdivided into subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

close box

Melanoclusia bivibrissa

Page Content

articles & notes



Explore Other Groups

random page

  go to the Tree of Life home page