Thepanorpoid Orders

FIGURE 9.13. Asilomorpha. (A) A robber fly, Mallophorinapulchra (Asilidae); and (B) a bee fly, Poecilanthrax autumnalis (Bombyliidae). (From F. R. Cole and E. I. Schlinger, 1969, The Flies of Western North America. By permission of the University of California Press.]

nectar, plant exudates, etc. Therevid larvae burrow in soil, rotting bark, fungi, and rotting fruit, and are voracious predators, especially of beetle larvae and earthworms. Of the Bombylioidea, some 4000 species belong to the BOMBYLIIDAE (bee flies) (Figure 9.13B). The common name of these nectar feeders has double significance. First, the flies resemble bumblebees, and second, in many species, female flies deposit eggs at the nest entrance of a solitary bee or wasp so that the larvae may feed on the pollen, honey, and even young Hymenoptera. Larvae of other species search for and feed on grasshopper eggs, thereby playing an important role in the natural regulation of grasshopper populations. In a few species eggs are laid directly onto larvae of Lepidoptera or Hymenoptera. The NEMESTRINIDAE (250 species) and ACROCERIDAE (450) species are both widespread and ancient groups, sometimes considered to be Muscomorpha. In both families adults are found around flowers and some feed on nectar (others apparently do not feed as they have vestigial mouthparts). The larvae, which undergo heteromorphosis (see Chapter 21, Section 3.3.2), are parasitoids of grasshoppers and locusts (and may be an important factor in controlling their populations) and of spiders, respectively. The Empidoidea contain two large families of advanced Brachycera, the EMPIDIDAE (dance flies, balloon flies) and DOLICHOPODIDAE (long-legged flies). There are about 3000 species of Empididae, which are predaceous in both adult and juvenile stages. The family is largely restricted to the temperate regions of both hemispheres, and its members gain their common name from the courtship behavior of most, though by no means all, species. In many species males have an elaborate courtship display in which a female is offered a gift of food (real or imitation). Presumably this served originally as an insurance policy against the male's life. Dolichopodidae, which constitute a family of about 6000 species, appear to be a specialized offshoot of the empid line. They are generally found in cool, moist habitats, including the seashore and salt marshes. Adults and most larvae are predaceous, especially on other Diptera; larvae of a few species are phytophagous.

Infraorder Muscomorpha

The Muscomorpha are arranged in two series. The first, Aschiza, is perhaps a polyphyletic group, containing the more primitive members, which lack a ptilinal suture. The second, Schizophora, includes those flies in which a ptilinal suture is present.

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment