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Conopidae

General Information on Conopidae

Conopids are remarkable flies. Many are attractive and mimic wasps and bees, their primary prey. Adults lay eggs inside these hosts and larvae develop there, ultimately killing the hosts. Some species have been considered pests (particularly those that attack honey bees), but they can also be viewed as beneficial – adults visit flowers and are important pollinators. One group of conopids differ considerably in appearance and behaviour and have been considered to be a separate family by some (Stylogastridae). Stylogastrine conopids are mainly found in association with army ants where they are concentrated at the front of the swarm and up to two meters in advance of the swarm front. They have not been recorded at flowers. Females seek out hosts disturbed by the ants and dive at these hosts, using their impact to secure recurrently barbed eggs in the host cuticle. The larvae develop in the host the same way as other conopids. Not all stylogastrine conopids are associated with army ants as they occur in areas where there are none. Two species occur in eastern North America and both likely attack and parasitize crickets. Current work on conopids in our lab involves a chapter on conopids for the upcoming Manual of Central American Diptera (with Chris Thompson and Sid Camras), completion of a conspectus on Neotropical Conopidae (also with Chris Thompson and Sid Camras), and revision of Costa Rican Conopidae (with Jens-Hermann Stuke and Sid Camras).

 

Supporting documents for publications

  • To download colour illustrations corresponding to: Gibson, J. F., Camras, S., and Skevington, J.H. 2009. Conopidae (Diptera). In: L. E. Claps, G. Debandi, and S. Roig-Juñent (eds.), Biodiversidad de Artrópodos Argentinos, volume 3. Sociedad Entomológica Argentina, click here. The documents are available as a zip file that includes 3 pdf's and a jpg (21.2 MB).
   

This page last updated on 10-Mar-2005

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Dr. J.H. Skevington and Dr. J.M. Cumming with the assistance of L. Bartels, R.B. Fairchild and M. Jomphe
   
Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes
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