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Sphaeroceridae - Lesser-dungflies

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Classification

BRACHYCERA, Muscomorpha Schizophora Acalyptratae, Sphaeroceroidea

Number of British species: 135

Size: T-S

Difficulty: 3-4

Characters

Minute to medium sized (0.7-5.5 mm), stout, usually dull brown to black coloured flies, characterised by presence of vibrissae in combination with short, swollen first tarsal segment of the hind leg. Arista bare to long pubescent, ocelli virtually always present; Ocellar bristles present or absent; Postvertical bristles converging or absent; 1-2 pairs of frontal bristles, curving outward; interfrontal bristles present, partially in rows oriented inward; vibrissae present. Wing almost always without markings; Costa with breaks at the base, a subcostal break and in some cases a humeral break as well; vein Sc reduced; crossvein BM-Cu present or absent; cell cup open or closed. Tibiae with or without dorsal preapical bristle.

Biology

The larvae live in a wide range of rotting organic materials and presumably feed on micro-organisms. They can be found in dung, manure dumps, leaf litter, organic matter washed up on the shore, mushrooms, bracket fungi, rotting vegetable matter, in caves, nests and other places inhabited by animals. The adults are mediocre fliers. They can be found on decaying matter of plant and animal origin, preferably in damp habitats; relatively many species live in caves or animal burrows. A few species occur near human settlements and, in case of mass occurrence in rotting substrates or in manure near human dwellings, they may become a nuisance because they usually also come indoors. Many species living in manure and dung are associated with hoofed animals and often form large populations on pastures and dung heaps near stables. The family shows a high percentage of species with reduced wings, or no wings at all.

Identification

 
families/brachycera/acalyptrates/sphaeroceridae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:01 (external edit)     Back to top
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