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Pipunculidae - Big-headed Flies



BRACHYCERA, Muscomocpha Aschiza, Syrphoidea

Number of British species: 93

Size: S-M

Difficulty: 2-4

Study group


Small to large (2-12 mm), dark coloured flies with long, narrow wings and very large eyes occupying nearly all of the semi-spherical to nearly entirely spherical head. Antenna short, third segment usually the largest, with a dorsal arista or style; mouthparts small. Wing clear or tinged brown; vein M1 and cell dm sometimes absent; cell cup elongate, ending acutely just before the wing margin. The female has a lance-like ovipositor.


The larvae are predominantly parasitoids of leafhoppers and planthoppers (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha) except Nephrocerus which has been reared from adult Tipulidae (Koenig & Young 2007). The large eyes of the adult pipunculids apparently play an important role in locating a suitable host, as does the ability to hover in one spot. Once located, the female uses her lance-like ovipositor to deposit an egg directly inside the host. More than one larva may be present in a single host. When nearing completion of development, the larvae eat the host until only an empty shell remains. The larvae then leave through the cuticle to pupariate in the soil.


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