FIGURE 8.16 Syrphidae, drone fly (Eristalis tenax). (A) Adult female; (B) larva, rat-tailed maggot. (From Gagné, 1987.)

are quite varied in form and feeding habits. Some are sluglike and live exclusively in nests of social insects, The most common larval forms are strongly flattened and are preda-ceous on aphids and other plant-feeding insects. The larvae of Eristalis and Eristalinus species are aquatic. They are known as rat-tailed maggots because of their long, retractable caudal segment bearing the posterior spiracles, which can be extended to 2-3 times the length of the body (Fig. 8.16B), This extensible air tube allows the aquatic larvae to breathe air from the surface while inhabiting highly polluted water. Rat-tailed maggots, especially Eristalis tenax, are often found in manure-polluted water in and around confined livestock operations. They are common in wastewater treatment lagoons for livestock and in human wastewater treatment facilities. Occasionally E. tenax causes gastrointestinal and urogenital myiasis in humans. There are over 900 species and more than 90 genera of syrphids in the Nearctic Region (Vockeroth and Thompson, 1987).

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