An infestation of scuttle flies, Megaselia scalaris (Loew, 1866), was found in deteriorating 19th century fluid-preserved specimens contained in a glass tank in the Vertebrate Spirit Store at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. A test showed ethanol levels were inadequate to maintain specimen preservation, and a vast amount of fluid had evaporated, leaving the specimens exposed and in a state of decomposition. The conditions provided a suitable habitat for the infestation and subsequent reproduction of M. scalaris. Here, I provide a method for the removal of M. scalaris from infested museum collections, as well as notes on their behavior and the conditions that promote fly infestation. Remedial salvage of the specimen that involves refixation, staging, and final preservation in 75% industrial methylated spirits (IMS/H2O) is described.

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Author notes

Associate Editor.— Christine Johnson