|Telostylinus lineolatus from Kadavoor, Kerala, India|
Neriidae is a family of true flies (Diptera) closely related to the Micropezidae. Some species are known as cactus flies while others have been called banana stalk flies and the family was earlier treated as subfamily of the Micropezidae which are often called stilt-legged flies. Like the Micropezidae, they have long legs and are found in damp or rotting vegetation where. They however differ in having no significant reduction of the forelegs as seen in the Micropezidae. There are about 100 species in 20 genera. Neriidae are found mainly in tropical regions but there are two North American genera, each with one species, and one species of Telostylinus occurs in temperate regions of Australia.
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For terms see Morphology of Diptera
Neriidae are slender, long-legged flies. Many species are sexually dimorphic, with males having more elongated bodies, heads, antennae and legs than females. Neriid flies are saprophagous. Larvae develop in rotting vegetable matter, including bark and fruit. Neriid adults tend to aggregate on rotting vegetable matter or damaged tree trunks. Neriid adults are also attracted to flowers, or other sources of sugar.The head is long, the upper face has a medial division and the antennae are porrect.The arista on the antenna arises at the tip unlike dorsally as in the Micropezidae. The forelegs are long with prominent coxae. In the Micropezidae, the forelegs are reduced.The fore femora (and sometimes all femora) bear ventral spines. The fore tibia of males may have rows of spines or tubercles. The third and fourth veins of the wing converge at the tip and the first vein is not setulose. Neriids have 1-5 frontal bristles, no ocellar bristles and some have reduced postvertical bristles.
Males of some species engage in spectacular combat for territory or access to females. The rivals elevate their bodies to an almost vertical posture, and pound each other with the ventral surfaces of their heads, strike each other with their forelegs, or try to place each other in a head-lock.
Recent studies have shown that adult body size and shape are extremely sensitive to larval diet in the Australian neriid Telostylinus angusticollis: larvae reared in nutrient-rich substrates exhibit greater body size as adults, and males have more elongated bodies, compared to flies reared in nutrient-poor substrates.
As in some tephritoid flies, neriid larvae in their final instar are capable of skipping. To skip, a maggot bends its body into a 'C', grasps its posterior end with its mouth-hooks, tightens the muscles in its body wall, and then releases its hold, causing its posterior end to recoil against the substrate. Although their skipping abilities are not as impressive as those of piophilid maggots, neriid maggots can skip distances of > 20 cm.
- Early accounts
- Berg, C.O. 1947. Biology and metamorphosis of some Solomon Islands Diptera. Part I: Micropezidae and Neriidae. Occas. Pap. Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich. 503, 14 p
- Steyskal, G. C. 1966. Notes on flies captured in treetops in Malaya (Diptera: Empididae, Neriidae, Platystomatidae, Sepsidae, Muscidae). Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum 120:1-16.
- Life history and larval biology
- Olsen, L. E., and R. E. Ryckman. 1963. Studies on Odontoloxozus longicornis (Diptera: Neriidae). Part I. Life history and descriptions of immature stages. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 56:454.
- Ryckman, R. E., and L. E. Olsen. 1963. Studies on Odontoloxozus longicornis (Diptera: Neriidae). Part II. Distribution and ecology. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 56:470-472.
- Steyskal, G. C. 1965. The third larval instar and puparium of Odontoloxozus longicornis (Coquillett) (Diptera, Neriidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 58:936-937.
- Preston-Mafham, K. 2001. Resource defence mating system in two flies from Sulawesi: Gymnonerius fuscus Wiedemann and Telostylinus sp. near duplicatus Wiedemann (Diptera: Neriidae). Journal of Natural History 35:149-156.
- Eberhard, W. G. 1998. Reproductive behavior of Glyphidops flavifrons and Nerius plurivitatus (Diptera: Neriidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 71:89-107.
- Mangan, R. L. 1979. Reproductive behavior of the cactus fly, Odontoloxozus longicornis, male territoriality and female guarding as adaptive strategies. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 4: 265-278.
- Wheeler, W. M. 1924. Courtship of the Calobatas. Journal of Heredity 15:485-495.
- Evolutionary biology
- Bonduriansky, R. 2006. Convergent evolution of sexual shape dimorphism in Diptera (PDF). Journal of Morphology 267:602-611.
- Bonduriansky, R. 2007. The evolution of condition dependent sexual dimorphism (PDF). The American Naturalist 167: 9-19.
- Bonduriansky, R. and Head, M. 2007. Maternal and paternal condition effects on offspring phenotype in Telostylinus angusticollis (Diptera: Neriidae) (PDF). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 2379–2388.
- Hennig, W. 1937. Übersicht über die Arten der Neriiden und über die Zoogeographie dieser Acalyptraten-Gruppe (Diptera). Stett. Entomol. Ztg. 98: 240–80. World genera, species and review.
- Steyskal, G. C. 1987. Neriidae. pp. 769–771 in J. F. McAlpine, ed. Manual of Nearctic Diptera. Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
- Barraclough, D. A. 1993. The southern African species of Neriidae (Diptera). Annals of the Natal Museum 34:1–17.
- McAlpine, David K. (1958). "A key to the Australian families of Acalptrate Diptera (Insecta)" (PDF). Records of the Australian Museum 24 (12): 183–190. doi:10.3853/j.0067-1975.24.1958.650.