Micropezidae

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Stilt-legged flies
Fly March 2010-1.jpg
Neria sp. from Portugal
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Section: Schizophora
Subsection: Acalyptratae
Superfamily: Nerioidea
Family: Micropezidae
Loew, 1861
Type genus
Micropeza
Meigen, 1803
Subfamilies

Calobatinae
Calycopteryginae
Eurybatinae
Micropezinae
Taeniapterinae

Diversity
54 genera, 5 subfamilies

The Micropezidae are a moderate-sized family of acalyptrate muscoid flies in the insect order Diptera, comprising about 500 species in about 50 genera and 5 subfamilies worldwide, (except New Zealand and Macquarie Island).[1] They are most diverse in tropical and subtropical habitats, especially in the Neotropical Region.

Insects in this family are commonly called stilt-legged flies, after their characteristically long legs. The fore legs are markedly smaller than the other pairs. Mostly they are long-bodied, often black flies, usually with infuscated (darkened) wings. Wings are reduced in the genera Calycopteryx and entirely absent in the ant-like Badisis ambulans.[1]

Description[edit]

For terms see Morphology of Diptera

Very slender small to large size (3 mm-16 mm) flies with long thin legs and narrow wings. The head is small elongate or rounded. The antenna are small and the arista is bare or pubescent. Ocelli are present but ocellar bristles are absent. Vibrissae are absent and the postvertical bristles are divergent or absent. There are 0-3 pairs of frontal bristles, which curve forward or backward. Interfrontal bristles are absent. The wings are clear or with a smoky patterned. The costa is without interruptions. The subcosta is complete, its ending in the costa close to vein R1. The posterior basal wing cell and discoidal wing cell are sometimes fused. Crossvein BM-Cu present or (Micropezinae) absent. The abdomen is long and narrow. The tibiae lack a dorsal preapical bristle.

Biology[edit]

Micropeza corrigiolata
Neria cibaria

Some species, much the same as in the strongylophthalmyiid genus, Strongylophthalmyia, mimic ants; others mimic wasps and are especially similar in appearance to some ichneumonid wasps. Species of the genus Anaeropsis have stalked eyes.

Little is known of the larval habits, but they are probably phytophagous or saprophagous in decayed vegetation, old manure or fungi . Larvae of certain Mimegralla species have been found to live in the roots of ginger and other plants, under the bark of dead trees or in other decaying material.Species of Micropeza have phytophagous larvae feeding in the root nodules of leguminous plants in open habitats.Species of Rainieria develop in rotting wood are found in old forests. Adults are either predaceous on small insects (for example Calobata in Britain[1]) or are attracted to excrement or decaying fruit. Adults are found on low herbage, flowers, leaves, rotting fruit and excrement.

Many species (for example those of genus Mimegralla) are known for their habit of standing motionless while waving their prominently marked front legs in front of their head, a behavior which contributes to their mimicry of wasps. At least one species of Metopochetus (M. curvus) was observed to wave its hindlegs instead, though these are not conspicuously colored.[1]

Identification[edit]

  • Czerny. 1930. Tylidae.In: Lindner, E. (Ed.). Die Fliegen der palaearktischen Region 5, 42a, 13-16.Keys to Palaearctic species but now needs revision (in German).
  • Séguy, E. (1934) Diptères: Brachycères. II. Muscidae acalypterae, Scatophagidae. Paris: Éditions Faune de France 28. virtuelle numérique
  • Shtakel'berg, A.A. Family Micropezidae (Tylidae in part) in Bei-Bienko, G. Ya, 1988 Keys to the insects of the European Part of the USSR Volume 5 (Diptera) Part 2 English edition.Keys to Palaearctic species but now needs revision .

Conservation[edit]

Calycopteryx mosleyi, found on the Kerguelen Islands and Heard Island, is associated with the Kerguélen cabbage (Pringlea antiscorbutica, Brassicaceae). As this plant is being destroyed by introduced rabbits, the fly is considered vulnerable.[1]

The larvae of Badisis ambulans live in the pitchers of the endangered Albany pitcher plant (Cephalotus follicularis, Cephalotaceae).[1]

Fossil record[edit]

Several fossil species have been found in Baltic amber, probably from the Late Eocene (about 36 million years old). However, most were washed onto beaches after wearing from Tertiary strata, making their age uncertain. Two fossil genera are presently recognized, Cypselosomatites Hennig, 1965 and the advanced Electrobata Hennig, 1965 which may be more than one genus however.

Genera[edit]

This list is compiled from the The BioSystematic Database of World Diptera and probably complete as of January 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f McAlpine, D.K. (1998). Review of the Australian stilt flies (Diptera: Micropezidae) with a phylogenetic analysis of the family. Invertebrate Taxonomy 12:55–134. doi:10.1071/IT96018 (with key to Australian species)

Further reading[edit]

  • Andersson, H., 1989 Taxonomic notes on the Fennoscandian Micropezidae.Notulae Entomologicae, 69:153–162.
  • Brown, B. V., A. Borkent, J.M. Cumming, D.M. Wood, N.E. Woodley, and M. Zumbado. 2010. Manual of Central American Diptera, Volume 2. NRC Research Press.
  • Hennig, W. 1934. Revision der Tyliden (Dipt., Acalypt.). I. Teil: die Taeniapterinae Amerikas [part]. Stett. Entomol. Ztg. 95: 65–108, 294–330. [Publication split: . 65–108 ; . 294–330 . Concludes in Hennig, 1935b.]
  • Hennig, W. 1935a. Revision der Tyliden (Dipt., Acalypt.). II. Teil: die ausseramerikanischen Taeniapterinae, die Trepidariinae und Tylinae. Allgemeines über die Tyliden. Zugleich ein Beitrag zu den Ergebnissen der Sunda-expedition Rensch, 1927 [part]. Konowia 14: 68–92.
  • Hennig, W. 1935b. Revision der Tyliden (Dipt., Acalypt.). I. Teil: die Taeniapterinae Amerikas [concl.]. Stett. Entomol. Ztg. 96: 27–67.
  • Hennig, W. 1935c. Revision der Tyliden (Dipt., Acalypt.). II. Teil: die ausseramerikanischen Taeniapterinae, die Trepidariinae und Tylinae. Allgemeines über die Tyliden. Zugleich ein Beitrag zu den Ergebnissen der Sunda-expedition Rensch, 1927 [part]. Konowia 14: 192–216, 289–310. [Publication split: . 192–216 ; 289–310. Concludes in Hennig, 1936.]
  • Hennig, W. 1936. Revision der Tyliden (Dipt., Acalypt.). II. Teil: die ausseramerikanischen Taeniapterinae, die Trepidariinae und Tylinae. Allgemeines über die Tyliden. Zugleich ein Beitrag zu den Ergebnissen der Sunda-expedition Rensch, 1927 [concl.]. Konowia 15: 129–44, 201–39. [Publication split: . 129–44 ; . 201–39. ]
  • McAlpine, D.K., 1975. The subfamily classification of the Micropezidae and the genera of Eurybatinae (Diptera: Schizophora). Journal of Entomology (B) 43: 231–245.
  • Steyskal, G.C. 1952b. Australasian stilt-legged flies (Diptera: Tylidae) in the United States National Museum. Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus. 102 [= No. 3294): 161–80. (26 February)
  • Steyskal, G.C. 1964. Larvae of Micropezidae (Diptera), including two species that bore in ginger roots. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 57: 292–96. (15 May)
  • Steyskal, G.C. 1977a. Family Micropezidae (Tylidae), . 12–20. In: Delfinado, M.D. & D.E. Hardy, eds., A catalog of the Diptera of the Oriental Region. Volume III. Suborder Cyclorrhapha (excluding Division Aschiza). University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu. x + 854 p.
  • Verbeke, J. 1951. Taenapterinae (Diptera:Cyclorrhapha) Fam. Micropezidae. Explor. Parc. natn. Albert Miss. G.F. de Witte 72:1–106.

External links[edit]