Africa Wild Insect Book Flies Photos & Descriptions

Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:42 pm

Robber Fly
Family: Asilidae

Image © BluTuna
Garden in Johannesburg

Asilidae, Stenopogoninae

Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:43 am

Robberfly - probably a species of Daspletis or possibly Anasillomos*
Family: Asilidae. Subfamily: Stenopogoninae

* ID by Dr. Jason G. H. Londt - Director Natal Museum and School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal

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Nov. 16, 2011 KTP

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Sept. 20, 2014 KTP

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Sept. 27, 2014 KTP

There are six species of Daspletis in the region. Daspletis appears to be active in late summer; the exceptions being hermanni (which is active in spring) and setithoracicus (active from October-May).

Diagnostic Features of the Genus Daspletis
*First fiagellomere tipped with a small pit enclosing a tiny seta, no microsegment present
*Facial swelling occupying about three-quarters of space between antennal bases and lower facial margin, and entirely covered with strong bristles and setae
*Dorsocentral bristles well developed anterior of transverse suture
*Vein M, not strongly arched anteriorly
*Postmetacoxal membrane always covered with long setae
*The facial protuberance occupies at least three-quarters of the face.

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https://zenodo.org/record/11781/files/londt_1983.pdf
The genus Daspletis Loew, 1858 and the description of two new genera, Anasillomos and Remotomyia (Diptera: Asilidae: Stenopogoninae)
by JASON G. H. LONDT J. ent. Soc. sth. Afr. Ig83 Vol. 46, No.2, pp. 283-308

Diptera, Brachycera, Asiloidea, Therevidae

Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:08 pm

Family Therevidae (Stiletto Flies)

The family Therevidae is distributed world-wide (with the exception of Antarctica), with more than 1000 described species in about 130 genera.

Adults are small or medium-sized with a body length of 2.4 to 18 mm. Slender to moderately thick-bodied flies. The abdomen is long and slender and the integument is hairy. The cuticle can have colors ranging from black to yellow, but often the background colour is masked by the tomentum. Background color light yellow to black. Body wholly or partly pilose, tomentose, and pruinose; setae usually prominent. Wing venation constant; R4 elongate, sinuous; cell d elongate, with three veins extending from its apex; crossvein m-cu present.

The head is large, generally holoptic in males, dichoptic in females and has three ocelli. The antennae are relatively short, with the scape and pedicel pubescent; the scape has an elongated shape, the pedicel is very short and the first flagellomere is elongated conical, the apex bearing a compound stylus with 1-3 segments. The mouthparts type is sucking-the labium ending in two fleshy labella.
The thorax is broad and moderately convex, with long bristles (macrotrichae). The legs are long and slender, with femora and tibiae bearing bristles; the tibiae are without apical spurs and the tarsi are provided with empodia or without the median pretarsal. The wings are well developed, hyaline or opaque, often with pigmentation of the veins located at the termination of the transverse and longitudinal veins.
The abdomen is elongated, consisting of eight apparent uriti. It is tapered posteriorly and convex or flattened dorsally. The abdominal end of females is generally provided with spinous processes.
The wing venation is relatively complex but without a particular conformation to distinguish Therevidae from other families of Asiloidei. The radius is divided into four branches, with R 2 +3 undivided. The branch R 4 is long and winding and reaches the costal margin, the branch R 5 terminates on the posterior border, so the second submarginal cell is open at the apex of the wing. The media is divided into four branches, all independent but with M 3 and M 4 convergent. The transverse medial vein closes the discal cell. This has an elongated shape and terminates at the apex with three angles from which the first three branches of media spring. The fourth branch, M 4 (or CuA 1 according to a different interpretation), originate from the apex of the posterior basal discal cell. The cubit and anal converge on a short common branch before reaching the apex.

Africa Wild Insect Book Flies (Diptera)

Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:12 pm

Stiletto Fly Orthactia fascipennis
Suborder Brachycera. Superfamily Asiloidea. Family Therevidae. Subfamily Phycinae

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Female. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Description
Diagnostic characters used to differentiate members of this subfamily include absence of lanceolate setae on the femora, setulae on wing vein R1 (although absent in Schlingeria Irwin, 1977), wing costal vein terminating before vein CuA2 (never circumambient), palpi with an apical pit, female terminalia with only a single set of variously developed A1 spines on the acanthophorite (tergite 10), abdominal tergites 9 and 10 as separate sclerites, three spermathecae and absence of a spermathecal sac (Lyneborg 1972; Hauser 2005).

The overall appearance is relatively distinctive with a narrow pointed abdomen and long but slim and delicate legs. Antenna lacks a conspicuous stylus. Males are holoptic (eyes meet along the dorsal length of the head).

Orthactia fascipennis is 7 mm in length. The wings are blackish with a white tip and a white band. Abdomen black, with white bands on the first and second segment.

Distribution
Orthactia is a genus endemic in southern Africa (Namibia and South Africa) known from 7 species (all described by Leif Lyneborg).

Habitat
The family Therevidae are most diverse in arid and semi-arid regions with sandy soils. Despite the semi-arid habitats adults are particularly attracted to water. You can therefore find them, especially in arid areas, near pools of water or any other similar source.

Diptera, Brachycera, Asiloidea, Mythicomyiidae

Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:27 pm

Family Mythicomyiidae (Microbombyliids, Micro Bee Flies)

The Mythicomyiidae (microbombyliids) have had a confused taxonomic history. Mythicomyiidae are either considered a separate taxon from the Bombyliidae or a subfamily of the Bombyliidae.
Because of their extremely small size and curious body shapes, some genera have been at times placed in Acroceridae or Empididae. Originally, taxa were placed in the subfamily Mythicomyiinae in the Empididae. Then later they were transferred to the Bombyliidae, where mythicomyiids have long been treated. Zaitzev (1991) was the first to give characters warranting raising the group to family level. Subsequent workers have followed Zaitzev's lead and treat the group as a separate family. The family is separated from the Bombyliidae by the unbranched wing vein R4+5 (branched in Bombyliidae), the extremely reduced or absent maxillary palpi (present in Bombyliidae), wings held together over the abdomen at rest (held at an angle in Bombyliidae), and the abdominal spiracles being placed in the terga (placed in the pleural membrane in Bombyliidae).

Mythicomyiids are very tiny flies (0.5–5.0 mm) found throughout most parts of the world, especially desert and semi-desert regions, except the highest altitudes and latitudes. Many of these "microbombyliids" have humpbacked thoraces and lack the dense vestiture common in Bombyliidae.
Wing with R4+5 not branched; vein MA absent; palpi absent or minute; abdominal spiracles located in terga; very small, 1–5 mm.

All the subfamilies of Mythicomyiidae are present in Africa: Leylaiyinae, Glabellulinae, Empidideicinae, Mythicomyiinae, Psiloderoidinae, Platypyginae.

Diptera, Brachycera, Asiloidea, Mythicomyiidae

Wed May 06, 2015 10:40 am

Unidentified Mythicomyiid
Family: Mythicomyiidae

Because of their extremely small size and curious body shapes, some genera have been at times placed in Acroceridae or Empididae. Originally, taxa were placed in the subfamily Mythicomyiinae in the Empididae. Then later they were transferred to the Bombyliidae, where mythicomyiids have long been treated. Zaitzev (1991) was the first to give characters warranting raising the group to family level. Subsequent workers have followed Zaitzev's lead and treat the group as a separate family.

The family is separated from the Bombyliidae by the unbranched wing vein R4+5 (branched in Bombyliidae), the extremely reduced or absent maxillary palpi (present in Bombyliidae), wings held together over the abdomen at rest (held at an angle in Bombyliidae), and the abdominal spiracles being placed in the terga (placed in the pleural membrane in Bombyliidae). Augmenting the morphological characters, it is also a much older lineage than any known Bombyliidae, dating from as far back as the Middle Jurassic, with other genera known from the Cretaceous. Bombyliidae, on the other hand are not known from any older fossil material than Eocene Baltic amber deposits.

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KTP

General Description
Mythicomyiids are very tiny flies (0.5–5.0 mm) found throughout most parts of the world, especially desert and semi-desert regions, except the highest altitudes and latitudes. Many have humpbacked thoraces and lack the dense vestiture common in Bombyliidae. Mythicomyiids have, until recently, not had much attention in the literature. Their small size has caused them to be missed when collecting.

Afrotropical Distribution
A high amount of diversity of both genera and species exists for this family in Africa, especially northern and southern portions. There are 5 Subfamilies with 14 genera and 55 species found in the Afrotropical Region
Psiloderoidinae
Platypyginae
Glabellulinae
Empidideicinae
Leylaiyinae

Biology
Not much is known of the biologies of the immature stages of mythicomyiids. Host data and potential or presumed hosts are known for only 6 species of mythicomyiids. Members of the genera Psiloderoides and Gubba, have been reared from grasshopper egg pods in South Africa and Australia respectively; Glabellula arctica has been observed in nests of Formica sp.; a pupa of Glabellula crassicornis was found in a dead locust tree among the frass of an unknown insect and successfully reared to the adult stage; Mythicomyia pusilla has been recorded as a parasite of Anthophora bee larvae; and an immature of Mythicomyia pruinosa was found in an ant midden located beneath a rock. Only one additional record has been found in the over 6,000 specimens examined during this study: a single specimen of Glabellula palaestinensis was found in the stem of Sorghum, which was infested with the larvae of the moth Sesamis in Egypt.

Links:
http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/pubs-online/pdf/be10.pdf
http://www.researchgate.net/publication ... from_Egypt

Diptera, Brachycera, Asiloidea, Mythicomyiidae

Wed May 06, 2015 1:29 pm

Subfamily Platypyginae

This subfamily contains genera with a long vein R2+3 (similar in length to R4+5) and that ends in the costa well beyond the level of the end of vein M2.

Diptera, Brachycera, Asiloidea, Mythicomyiidae

Wed May 06, 2015 6:04 pm

Mythicomyiid Cephalodromia sp.
Family: Mythicomyiidae. Subfamily: Platypyginae

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Description of the genus Cephalodromia
Oral cavity with a prominent ventral sulcus, and produced posteriorly resulting in well developed postgena of one single medial point. Discal cell open distally, not closed by crossvein.
Many species of this genus were originally described in Cyrtosia. Examination of types and topotypic specimens of many species in this study has resulted in the transfer of a number of species to Cephalodromia based on the shape of the postgena and genitalia.

Distribution
This genus is known from the southern and eastern Palaearctic, Afrotropical, and Oriental Regions.
10 species are known from Southern Africa.

Diptera, Brachycera, Asiloidea, Bombyliidae

Sun May 24, 2015 5:19 pm

Family Bombyliidae (Bee Flies)

The Bombyliidae (bee flies) are one of the largest families of Diptera, with over 5,000 valid species described worldwide. Bee flies (Bombyliidae) have a virtually cosmopolitan distribution and are commonly found in warm arid to semi-arid habitats. Their high diversity may be due to the parasitoid habit of the majority of their larvae. Adults feed on nectar and pollen, and are important as pollinators. Bee flies occur on all continents except Antarctica, however their highest diversities occur in semi-arid and arid environments. They are active in the hottest time of the day, usually found basking in the sun. They are very common in the drier parts of South Africa. They are superb fliers that can hover very accurately while feeding from flowers.

The family includes a wide variety of morphological forms. This structural diversity is reflected in the higher classification of the family, with a total of 31 subfamilies proposed to date.
Bee flies are mall to large, aptly named, stout and furry flies. Legs slender, proboscis often long. All Bombyliidae have lost wing vein M3. Adults of larger species are powerful and agile fliers, rivaling hoverflies (Syrphidae) in their ability to hover. With many species possessing colorful patterns of stripes and spots on the wings and bodies, bee flies are often some of the most striking in appearance of all the Diptera. Many bee flies can be recognised by their woolly covering of hairs and their long snout up to 10 mm.
Larvae of Bombyliidae are parasitoids (most often ectoparasitoids) or predators of other insects, primarily the immature stages of the large endopterygote orders of Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Orthoptera, and Diptera.

Annotated keys to the genera of African Bombylioidea (Diptera: Bombyliidae; Mythicomyiidae) by D. J. Greathead and N. L. Evenhuis

Diptera, Brachycera, Asiloidea, Bombyliidae, Bombyliinae

Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:27 pm

Subfamily Bombyliidae (True Bee Flies)

Bee Flies in the subfamily Bombyliinae usually have the stout and hairy body. They are from medium to large in size. They have long and thin proboscis. The wing vein M1 meets R5 before the wing margin. The head joint closely to thorax, i.e., no neck can be seen. The abdomen is board and oval. Flies in this subfamily is called True Bee Flies because their hairy body and flight habits resembles bees.
Wing with R4+5 branched; vein MA present; palpi present, usually large; abdominal spiracles in pleural membrane; mostly over 5 mm.
Antenna often thickened, scape usually shorter than flagellum; pronotum not distinct; body usually broad and usually densely hairy; wings normally broad and usually with well developed alula and squama; female with a well developed sand-chamber guarded by dense long hairs (except Beckerellus, but other characters do not differ), spermatheca with a distinct terminal bulb .

Annotated keys to the genera of African Bombylioidea (Diptera: Bombyliidae; Mythicomyiidae) by D. J. Greathead and N. L. Evenhuis