Dolichopodidae

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Classification

BRACHYCERA, Asilomorpha, Empidoidea

Number of British species: 287

Size: T-M

Difficulty: 1-3

Scheme: Covered by the Empids and Dollies recording scheme

Characters

Minute to medium sized (1-9 mm) flies with long and slender legs. Body slender, the smaller species stouter. Body colour usually greenish metallic lustrous, in some cases dull yellow, brown or black. Eyes virtually always dichoptic; third antennal segment largest and with a usually long, apical or dorsal arista; mouthparts usually short and with a wide aperture adapted for sucking small prey. Wing clear or tinged, in some cases partially strongly coloured, marked or with distinct spots; cells br, bm and cup small, cell cup and/or the anal vein may be absent; crossvein BM-Cu absent; 2 veins branching from crossvein DM-Cu go in the direction of the wing margin; the upper one in some cases strongly curving or forked into M1 and M2. Legs, the tibiae in particular, usually with long bristles; in some genera legs raptorial.

Biology

The larvae prey on small invertebrates and are found in particular in moist soil, in rotting organic matter, below tree bark, etc.; larvae of Thrypticus mine the stalks of Monocotyledons. Truly aquatic species are lacking but many are semi-aquatic (living in the water margin zone); a restricted number of species develop at the shores of saline inland bodies of water or the intertidal zone along seashores. The adults occur in a wide range of habitats, for example near water or more in the open, e.g. in meadows and gardens. They are often sitting high on their legs on the ground or on vegetation, on tree trunks, rocks, walls etc.; some species walk about on the water surface. The adults, like the larvae, are predators, largely feeding on small invertebrates. The species of Dolichopus, for example, prefer to prey on the larvae of Culicidae.

Identification

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