Three researchers working in the south of China have just discovered the Oriental eye fly (Siphunculina funicola) for the first time. In addition to documenting this dangerous fly in their article, the scientists recorded three brand new species from the Siphunculina genus.
The main reason the Oriental eye fly is so dangerous is because it can easily spread the eye disease conjunctivitis. Sometimes referred to as "pink eye," conjunctivitis causes a swelling of both the eyeball and inner eyelid.
Mostly all Oriental eye flies live in dank places near dead animals or feces. The larvae are known to live off of excrement and decaying flesh.
Although this is the first sighting in China, the Oriental eye fly has been spotted in other areas of Asia. In particular, these flies can be found in eastern and southern Asia, especially in areas with a ton of cattle.
Researchers involved in this study worked in the island province of Hainan (Chinese: 海南). In addition to the Oriental eye fly, the scientists named three new species of Siphunculina: S. bulbifera, S. scalpriformis, and S. shangyongensis.
In their paper, the study authors note that only five species of this genus were known in China to date. Four of these species have also been observed in Taiwan.
The three researchers involved in this study include Dr. Xiaoyan Liu, Dr. Ding Yang, and Dr. Emilia P. Nartshuk. These three researchers respectively teach at the following universities: Huazhong Agricultural University, the China Agricultural University, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Conjunctivitis is an extremely contagious disease that causes pain around the eyes, eye discharge, eye redness, and nasal congestion. Usually people can treat this disease just by using artificial tears, a cold compress, or washing their eyes. More serious cases may require steroids or antibiotics.
Contact lens wearers with conjunctivitis should stop wearing their contact lenses right away. Wait until the disease has fully healed before putting in a new pair of lenses.
Anyone interested in reading this full study can find it in the latest edition of the journal ZooKeys. The study is entitled, "Three new species and one new record of the genus Siphunculina from China (Diptera, Chloropidae)."