Rhagionidae - Snipeflies

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Classification

BRACHYCERA, Tabanomorpha, Tabanoidea

Number of British species: 15

Size: S-L

Difficulty: 1

Scheme: Covered by the Larger-Brachycera recording scheme

Characters

Small to large (2-20 mm) flies with long wings, legs and abdomen. Body bare or partially pubescent, rarely with a few bristles. Body colour yellow, yellowish brown or black, often with a brownish, grey or dark pattern. In male eyes generally nearly or entirely holoptic; third antennal segment swollen and with a dorsal or terminal style or arista; mouthparts usually fleshy. Wing usually clear and with a dark stigma spot, in some cases with a distinct pattern; wing venation usually with 3 veins from the discal cell in the direction of the wing margin; cell m3 open; cell cup open or closed. Legs simple apical spurs on the tibiae variable, however, mid leg virtually always with 2 apical spurs; empodium pulvilliform.

Biology

The larvae of most species breed in moist soil, some are found in mosses, liverworts, etc., with the larvae of many Chrysopilus species breeding inside decaying wood of deciduous trees. The larvae prey on insect larvae, worms and other invertebrates; some species are known to feed on organic detritus and carrion. The adults are generally less abundant, being found in shaded habitats near the verges of woodlands and near bodies of water. Some Rhagionidae, including the well known Rhagio scolopaceus (Linnaeus), are often seen on leaves tree trunks and other vertically oriented objects. Symphoromyia species are known to feed on blood of mammals. Most of the other species feed on nectar, pollen and honeydew in the adult stage; many species are presumed to prey as well on small insects and other invertebrates.

Identification

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