Conopidae

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Classification

BRACHYCERA, Muscomorpha Schizophora Acalyptratae, Conopoidea

Number of British species: 24

Size: S-L

Difficulty: 1

Scheme: Covered by the Conopid Recording Scheme

Characters

Small to large (3-20 mm, usually 5-15 mm), slender to stout flies, often lustrous with a black and yellow, wasp-like colour pattern or with reddish brown markings; mouthparts usually conspicuously long and geniculate. Arista bare; ocelli present or absent (Conopinae); Ocellar bristles small or absent; P-, F-, interfrontal bristles and vibrissae absent. Wing usually clear, in some cases with dark markings, e.g. along the costa; costa continuous; vein Sc complete; crossvein BM-Cu present, cell cup closed. Tibiae with (Myopinae) or without dorsal preapical bristle.

Biology

Conopidae are parasitoids, in particular of bumblebees, bees and wasps in which the female deposits a single egg in the abdomen. This happens in flight while the conopid female holds the abdomen of her victim in a fixed position using special structures on her own abdomen. The larva develops inside, to the detriment of the host, pupating when the host dies. The adults feed on nectar and frequently visit flowers (for mating purposes as well). Species with very long mouthparts visit flowers with deep-lying nectar, such as Lamiaceae (Labiatae). The adults prefer warm and dry areas and can be found flying near vegetation rich in flowers, near blooming heather and on trees and shrubs in flower. The females often fly slowly through the vegetation searching for a suitable host. Many species show a striking resemblance to bees, wasps and their allies.

Identification

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