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The Acroceridae
Acroceridae
are a small family of odd-looking flies. They have a hump-backed appearance with a strikingly small head, generally with a long proboscis for accessing nectar. They are rare and not widely known. The most frequently applied common names are small-headed flies or hunch-back flies.[1] Many are bee or wasp mimics. Because they are parasitoids of spiders, they also are sometimes known as spider flies.

Contents

1 Description 2 Taxonomy 3 Distribution and habitat 4 Behaviour 5 References 6 Further reading

6.1 Species lists 6.2 Identification

7 External links

Description[edit]

Acroceridae
Acroceridae
plate from Johann Wilhelm Meigen's Europäischen Zweiflügeligen

The Acroceridae
Acroceridae
vary in size from small to fairly large, about the size of large bees, with a wingspan over 25 mm in some species. As a rule, both sexes have tiny heads and a characteristic hump-backed appearance because of the large, rounded thorax. In appearance, they are compact flies without major bristles, but many species have a bee-like hairiness on their bodies, and some are bee or wasp mimics. In most species, the eyes are holoptic in both sexes, the heads seemingly composed mainly of the large faceted eyes. This is in contrast to many insects in which the males have larger (even holoptic) eyes, whereas the females have normal eyes. The squamae are disproportionately large, completely covering the halteres, and the abdomen has an inflated appearance, often practically globular.[2] The tarsi are equipped with large claws with three pulvilli below them. Taxonomy[edit] The Acroceridae
Acroceridae
Leach, 1815, are a small family in the Brachycera. They are members of the infraorder Muscomorpha, and DNA studies suggest that they are most closely related to the families Nemestrinidae
Nemestrinidae
and Bombyliidae.[3] A 2013 analysis of morphological data suggested the Acroceridae
Acroceridae
were a sister group to the Asiloidea and Eremoneura.[4] The roughly 520 species are placed in 50 genera. Of the traditionally recognised subfamilies, the Panopinae
Panopinae
and Philopotinae appear to be monophyletic, but the Acrocerinae
Acrocerinae
are polyphyletic.[5] Obsolete synonyms for Acroceridae
Acroceridae
include Cyrtidae, Oncodidae, and Ogcodidae. Distribution and habitat[edit] Acroceridae
Acroceridae
are cosmopolitan in distribution, but nowhere abundant. They appear episodically and in most places are rarely observed; of more than 500 species described, most are known from fewer than 10 specimens. They occur most commonly in semiarid tropical locations.

Eulonchus sapphirinus feeding on Clintonia uniflora

Behaviour[edit] As far as is known, all Acroceridae
Acroceridae
are parasitoids of spiders. They are most commonly collected when a spider from the field is brought into captivity. As in the related families, Bombyliidae
Bombyliidae
and Nemestrinidae, members of the family undergo hypermetamorphosis: the adults do not seek out their hosts; instead, the first-instar larva is a planidium. Females lay large number of eggs, up to 5,000, and after hatching, the planidia seek out spiders. They do not resemble the triungulin of most beetles with a hypermetamorphosis, but do resemble the triungulin of Stylops. The larva can move with a looping movement like a leech or inchworm, and can leap several millimetres into the air. When a spider contacts an acrocerid planidium, the planidium grabs hold, crawls up the spider's legs to its body, and forces its way through the body wall, usually at an articulation membrane. Often, it lodges near a book lung,[2] where it may remain for years before completing its development. Mature larvae pupate outside the host.

Psilodera species, showing the proboscis below the body, holoptic eyes, texture of wings, and bee mimicry

The adults of most species, like various members of the Tabanidae, Nemestrinidae, and Bombyliidae, are nectar feeders with exceptionally long probosces, sometimes longer than the entire body length of the insect. Unlike the other families, however, when not deploying the proboscis for feeding, the Acroceridae
Acroceridae
carry it lengthwise medially beneath the body, instead of projecting forward. As a result, the proboscis might escape casual notice, though careful inspection may reveal it projecting slightly behind the abdomen. Flies are usually found in small numbers on plants in July and August in the Palearctic ecozone. References[edit]

^ Gillung, Jéssica P, Winterton, Shaun L. New genera of philopotine spider flies (Diptera, Acroceridae) with a key to living and fossil genera. Journal Article: ZooKeys 01/2011; doi:10.3897/zookeys.127.1824 ^ a b Richards, O. W.; Davies, R.G. (1977). Imms' General Textbook of Entomology: Volume 1: Structure, Physiology and Development Volume 2: Classification and Biology. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 0-412-61390-5.  ^ Wiegmann, Brian M; Yeates, David K; Thorne, Jeffrey L; Kishino, Hirohisa. Time Flies, a New Molecular Time-Scale for Brachyceran Fly Evolution Without a Clock. Syst. Biol. 52(6):745–756, 2003. ISSN 1063-5157 print / ISSN 1076-836X. Online doi:10.1080/10635150390250965 ^ Lambkin, Christine L., et al. "The phylogenetic relationships among infraorders and superfamilies of Diptera based on morphological evidence." Systematic Entomology 38.1 (2013): 164-179. ^ Winterton, Shaun L; Wiegmanna, Brian M; Schlinger, Evert I. Phylogeny and Bayesian divergence time estimations of small-headed flies (Diptera: Acroceridae) using multiple molecular markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution Volume 43, Issue 3, June 2007, Pages 808–832

Further reading[edit] Species lists[edit]

Palaearctic Nearctic Japan Australian and Oceanian List of soldierflies and allies of Great Britain

Identification[edit]

Sack, P., 1936. Acroceridae. In: Lindner, E. (Ed.). Die Fliegen der palaearktischen Region 21, pp. 1–36. Keys to Palaearctic species, but in need of revision (in German). Narchuk, E.P., 1988. Family Acroceridae. In Bei-Bienko, G. Ya, Keys to the Insects of the European Part of the USSR Volume 5 (Diptera) Part 2, English edition. Keys to Palaearctic species, but in need of revision. Przemysław, Trojan, 1962. Acroceridae. In Klucze do oznaczania owadów Polski 28, 23, 1–17. Muchowki = Diptera, 54/58. Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Acroceridae.

Family description, illustrations Images at Diptera.info Images and information at BugGuide Family Acroceridae
Acroceridae
at EOL Acroceridae
Acroceridae
in Italian Wing venation

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Extant Diptera families

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Subclass: Pterygota Infraclass: Neoptera Superorder: Endopterygota

Suborder Nematocera

Axymyiomorpha

Axymyiidae

Culicomorpha

Culicoidea

Dixidae
Dixidae
(meniscus midges) Corethrellidae
Corethrellidae
(frog-biting midges) Chaoboridae
Chaoboridae
(phantom midges) Culicidae (mosquitoes)

Chironomoidea

Thaumaleidae
Thaumaleidae
(solitary midges) Simuliidae (black flies) Ceratopogonidae
Ceratopogonidae
(biting midges) Chironomidae
Chironomidae
(non-biting midges)

Blephariceromorpha

Blephariceridae
Blephariceridae
(net-winged midges) Deuterophlebiidae (mountain midges) Nymphomyiidae

Bibionomorpha

Bibionoidea

Bibionidae
Bibionidae
(march flies, lovebugs)

Anisopodoidea

Anisopodidae
Anisopodidae
(wood gnats)

Sciaroidea (fungus gnats)

Bolitophilidae Diadocidiidae Ditomyiidae Keroplatidae Mycetophilidae Sciaridae
Sciaridae
(dark-winged fungus gnats) Cecidomyiidae
Cecidomyiidae
(gall midges)

Psychodomorpha

Scatopsoidea

Canthyloscelidae Perissommatidae Scatopsidae
Scatopsidae
(minute black scavenger flies, or dung midges)

Psychodoidea

Psychodidae (moth flies)

Ptychopteromorpha

Ptychopteridae
Ptychopteridae
(phantom crane flies) Tanyderidae (primitive crane flies)

Tipulomorpha

Trichoceroidea

Trichoceridae
Trichoceridae
(winter crane flies)

Tipuloidea

Pediciidae
Pediciidae
(hairy-eyed craneflies) Tipulidae (crane flies)

Suborder Brachycera

Asilomorpha

Asiloidea

Apioceridae (flower-loving flies) Apsilocephalidae Apystomyiidae Asilidae
Asilidae
(robber flies) Bombyliidae
Bombyliidae
(bee flies) Evocoidae Hilarimorphidae (hilarimorphid flies) Mydidae (mydas flies) Mythicomyiidae Scenopinidae
Scenopinidae
(window flies) Therevidae
Therevidae
(stiletto flies)

Empidoidea

Atelestidae Hybotidae
Hybotidae
(dance flies) Dolichopodidae
Dolichopodidae
(long-legged flies) Empididae
Empididae
(dagger flies, balloon flies)

Nemestrinoidea

Acroceridae
Acroceridae
(small-headed flies) Nemestrinidae
Nemestrinidae
(tangle-veined flies)

Muscomorpha

Aschiza

Platypezoidea

Phoridae
Phoridae
(scuttle flies, coffin flies, humpbacked flies) Opetiidae
Opetiidae
(flat-footed flies) Ironomyiidae (ironic flies) Lonchopteridae
Lonchopteridae
(spear-winged flies) Platypezidae
Platypezidae
(flat-footed flies)

Syrphoidea

Syrphidae (hoverflies) Pipunculidae
Pipunculidae
(big-headed flies)

Schizophora

Acalyptratae

Conopoidea

Conopidae
Conopidae
(thick-headed flies)

Tephritoidea

Pallopteridae
Pallopteridae
(flutter flies) Piophilidae
Piophilidae
(cheese flies) Platystomatidae
Platystomatidae
(signal flies) Pyrgotidae Richardiidae Tephritidae
Tephritidae
(peacock flies) Ulidiidae
Ulidiidae
(picture-winged flies)

Nerioidea

Cypselosomatidae Micropezidae
Micropezidae
(stilt-legged flies) Neriidae
Neriidae
(cactus flies, banana stalk flies)

Diopsoidea

Diopsidae (stalk-eyed flies) Gobryidae Megamerinidae Nothybidae Psilidae
Psilidae
(rust flies) Somatiidae Strongylophthalmyiidae Syringogastridae Tanypezidae

Sciomyzoidea

Coelopidae
Coelopidae
(kelp flies) Dryomyzidae Helosciomyzidae Ropalomeridae Huttoninidae Heterocheilidae Phaeomyiidae Sepsidae
Sepsidae
(black scavenger flies) Sciomyzidae
Sciomyzidae
(marsh flies)

Sphaeroceroidea

Chyromyidae Heleomyzidae Sphaeroceridae
Sphaeroceridae
(small dung flies) Nannodastiidae

Lauxanioidea

Celyphidae
Celyphidae
(beetle-backed flies) Chamaemyiidae
Chamaemyiidae
(aphid flies) Lauxaniidae

Opomyzoidea

Agromyzidae
Agromyzidae
(leaf miner flies) Anthomyzidae Asteiidae Aulacigastridae (sap flies) Clusiidae
Clusiidae
(lekking, or druid flies) Fergusoninidae Marginidae Neminidae Neurochaetidae (upside-down flies) Odiniidae Opomyzidae Periscelididae Teratomyzidae Xenasteiidae

Ephydroidea

Camillidae Curtonotidae
Curtonotidae
(quasimodo flies) Diastatidae
Diastatidae
(bog flies) Ephydridae
Ephydridae
(shore flies) Drosophilidae
Drosophilidae
(vinegar and fruit flies)

Carnoidea

Acartophthalmidae Australimyzidae Braulidae
Braulidae
(bee lice) Canacidae
Canacidae
(beach flies) Carnidae Chloropidae
Chloropidae
(frit flies) Cryptochaetidae Inbiomyiidae Milichiidae
Milichiidae
(freeloader flies)

Lonchaeoidea

Cryptochetidae Lonchaeidae
Lonchaeidae
(lance flies)

Calyptratae

Muscoidea

Anthomyiidae
Anthomyiidae
(cabbage flies) Fanniidae
Fanniidae
(little house flies) Muscidae
Muscidae
(house flies, stable flies) Scathophagidae
Scathophagidae
(dung flies)

Oestroidea

Calliphoridae
Calliphoridae
(blow-flies: bluebottles, greenbottles) Mystacinobiidae (New Zealand batfly) Oestridae (botflies) Rhinophoridae Sarcophagidae (flesh flies) Tachinidae
Tachinidae
(tachina flies)

Hippoboscoidea

Glossinidae (tsetse flies) Hippoboscidae
Hippoboscidae
(louse flies) Mormotomyiidae
Mormotomyiidae
(frightful hairy fly) Nycteribiidae
Nycteribiidae
(bat flies) Streblidae
Streblidae
(bat flies)

Stratiomyomorpha

Stratiomyoidea

Pantophthalmidae
Pantophthalmidae
(timber flies) Stratiomyidae
Stratiomyidae
(soldier flies) Xylomyidae
Xylomyidae
(wood soldier flies)

Tabanomorpha

Rhagionoidea

Austroleptidae Bolbomyiidae Rhagionidae
Rhagionidae
(snipe flies)

Tabanoidea

Athericidae
Athericidae
(water snipe flies) Oreoleptidae Pelecorhynchidae Tabanidae (horse and deer flies)

Vermileonomorpha

Vermileonoidea

Vermileonidae

Xylophagomorpha

Xylophagoidea

Xylophagidae
Xylophagidae
(awl flies)

List of families of Diptera

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q1031499 ADW: Acroceridae BugGuide: 7016 EoL: 517 EPPO: 1ACROF Fauna Europaea: 10880 Fossilworks: 138867 GBIF: 3328 iNaturalist: 176389 ITIS:

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