Hippoboscidae - Birdlice-flies

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Classification

BRACHYCERA, Muscomorpha Schizophora Calyptratae, Hippoboscoidea

Number of British species: 14

Size: M

Difficulty: 2

Characters

Small to medium sized (2.5-10 mm) flies. Most species are dorsoventrally flattened as an adaptation to their ectoparasitic mode of life. Head closely adpressed to thorax and eyes well-developed. Most species possess well-developed wings and are able fliers; some have reduced wings or shed their wings after finding a suitable host. Wing venation reduced and concentrated at the wing base and anterior region. Legs short and powerful; coxae of mid legs and usually also hind legs far apart; tarsi with hook-like claws, enabling these insects to cling to the hairs or feathers of their hosts.

Biology

All species are ectoparasites of birds or mammals and feed on blood. The larvae develop inside the abdomen of the female fly and are deposited one by one, immediately followed by pupation, generally on the ground or in the soil. Most species visit a limited number of host species but some species are found on species of birds sharing the same habitat. Flightless species can find new hosts by contact between hosts or through infection at nest sites.

Identification

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