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© Frédéric AZEMAR / CNRS Images



A fly, a corpse, a resurrection

Listed as extinct until recently, the bone skipper (Thyreophora cynophila) hadn’t been spotted in France since 1836. However, in 2019, this elusive fly was rediscovered by a hunter-naturalist in the French Pyrenees. After such a long absence, many questions about this unusual insect remain unanswered. Researchers are now studying its range, life cycle and ecology with the help of citizen scientists. Unlike other flies, it is only present in winter, and on the corpses of large mammals, like the wild boar seen here. This partly explains why the dipteran fell into oblivion despite being so distinctive: entomologists rarely examine corpses in the depths of winter! The rediscovery of these rare, highly-specialised specimens highlights our lack of knowledge of insects at a time when their biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate. This image is a winner of the 2021 La preuve par l'image (LPPI) competition.

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