Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects: Diptera: An Introduction to the Immature Stages of British Flies Vol.10 Part 14
By K.G.V. Smith
Knowledge of the larvae of Diptera lags far behind that of the adults. Of the 130 or so families of Diptera currently recognised in the world some 20 remain undescribed in the larval stages, including the following which occur in the British Isles: Acartophthalmidae, Asteiidae, Camillidae, Chyromyidae, Stenomicridae, Tethinidae and Trixoscelidae (formerly included in the Heleomyzidae). These families are, however, included in the present handbook with suggestions as to where their larvae should be sought. Of the more than 80,000 species of Diptera known to science probably less than two per cent have been described in the immature stages while adults of further new species are continually being described.
- Publisher: Royal Entomological Society
- Number Of Pages: 280
- Publication Date: 1989-12
- ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0901546755
- ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780901546753
For the majority of families, however, only a few species come into these categories and description of the immature stages has remained rather casual. Fortunately work on the immature stages of a particular family that occupies a distinct ecological niche has been recognised as a valuable research topic for university students working for higher degrees. This has resulted in several valuable and comprehensive studies, e.g. Dixon (1960) and Hartley (1961) on Syrphidae; Okely (1974) and Pitkin (1988, in part) on Sphaeroceridae.
Unfortunately all families do not lend themselves to concentrated short term study and may require a long and continuous effort before a reasonably comprehensive treatment can be achieved, e.g. Brindle's work on Tipulidae (1952-1967) and the 25 years required to produce Skidmore's (1985) book on Muscidae. Some fine work has been done in Europe especially by Dusek & Laska (1967, summary) on Syrphidae, and Hennig (1943a-1956) and Schumann (1953-1974) on Cyclorrhapha.
To further these aims some bionomic keys are given at appropriate points where a limited number of species occur in a restricted habitat. In a section on ecology there are some listings of families, genera or species to be found in specific habitats which, by restricting the possibilities, should facilitate more rapid identification by reference to the figures alone. A full index provides rapid access to ecological information in the text. There are brief general comments on eggs and pupae, and illustrations showing their diversity of form.
The following comprehensive specialist works on larvae are of value in identification. Hennig (1948-1952) is well illustrated and lists the world species described as larvae up to that time with a full bibliography. Peterson (1957) treats Nearctic species but Teskey (in McAlpine et al., 1981) does so in much greater detail. Seguy (1950) gives much detailed information on all aspects of fly biology arranged under subject and habitat and similar information for British species is given in Stubbs & Chandler (1978) which includes a key to families of larvae (by Brindle & Smith). Brauns (1954) deals with terrestrial Diptera larvae and pupae and is well illustrated. Teskey (1984) gives a well-illustrated key to aquatic Diptera larvae. Oldroyd & Smith (in Smith, 1973) give a key to families of larvae of medical importance. Smith (1986) deals with species of forensic importance including those found on carrion (human and animal). Koppen (1972) covers some agricultural pest species. Askew (1971) and Clausen (1940) review parasitic Diptera. References to particular families are given in each section below.
As this book goes to press a very important two volume work has appeared on the immature stages of the Cyclorrhapha (Ferrar, 1987) and also part 2 of the Manual of Nearctic Diptera (McAlpine et al., 1987), also covering Cyclorrhapha, has been published.