Braulidae - Beelice

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Classification

BRACHYCERA, Muscomorpha Schizophora Acalyptratae, Carnoidea

Number of British species: 2

Size: T

Difficulty: 3

Characters

Minute to small (1.2-2.5 mm), dorsoventrally flattened reddish to dark brown flies, with the body evenly covered by rather long bristles. Wings, halteres and scutellum absent. Eyes reduced to a pale spot just behind the sunken antenna; ocelli absent. Thorax small, closely adpressed to the abdomen. Legs relatively long and strong; tarsal claws transformed into a comb of over 20 teeth, curving inward.

Biology

The larvae and adults live as commensals in the nests of bees. The larvae feed on honey, pollen and organic debris. The adults attach themselves to the body of the queen (rarely of a worker), absorbing food and liquids from the mouth opening of the bee. The only species of importance to bee-keeping is Braula coeca Nitzsch. It was not a real nuisance but nevertheless has disappeared from many countries on account of measures taken against Varroa mites which cause severe damage in beehives.

Identification

 
families/brachycera/acalyptrates/braulidae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:00 (external edit)     Back to top
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