The Info List - Braulidae

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Braulidae, or bee louse, is a family of fly (Diptera) with seven species in two genera, Braula and Megabraula.[1] Found in honey bee colonies, these most unusual wingless and small flies, are not a true bee parasite, and are barely recognizable as Diptera,[1] as they have the superficial appearance of mites or lice.


1 History 2 Life cycle

2.1 Adults 2.2 Larvae/ Immatures

3 Behavior 4 Phylogeny 5 References

History[edit] The first discovery of Braulidae was of Braula coeca, in 1818 by Christian Ludwig Nitzch, a German zoologist. In 1986, the genus Megabraula was discovered by David Grimaldi, an American entomologist. Braulidae are found throughout the world in Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America.[2] Since they prefer queen bees as hosts, they are thought to have been brought to the United States by queen importation. Many species of Braulidae are thought to have different host honey bee races. Some of these include B. Kohli and B.pretoriensis which are restricted to Carniolan and middle eastern honey bee races and B.schmitzi with the Italian race[1]. B. coeca is the most widely known Braulidae species, most commonly seen on honey bees around the world. Life cycle[edit] Adults[edit] The adult Braulidae life-cycle is intimately connected with that of honey bees. The adults roam around on adult honey bees, feeding on their mouth secretions. Although they do not harm the bees, they may be a major nuisance to them in certain areas. As adults, they will eat honey and when available, preferring royal jelly.The adults are nimble and scramble for food being fed to the queen. When present, Braulidae are most likely found in bee hives, and at times on flowers waiting for bees to hang onto. Once the adults become mature, their eggs are laid on honey bee wax cappings. Size of Braulidae may vary. Braula will be about 1.6mm and the Megabraula will be about 3mm.[1] They have reduced eyes located just above the antennae, their antennae are hidden in grooves, and their legs are short and robust. Unlike most flies, they lack wings or halteres. They are reddish-brown in color, have a 5-segmented tarsus, and their thorax is only half as long as their head. They also lack a distinct scutellum on the metathorax..[1] Larvae/ Immatures[edit] The larvae of Braulidae are maggot-like with a flattened posterior end and pointed anterior end. They tunnel through wax and comb feeding on the wax and pollen. Because they are in the suborder Schizophora, they emerge from the puparium through the use of the ptilinum, an eversible sack on the front of the head that inflates to burst a circular exit from the end of the puparium. Behavior[edit] Although Braulidae may be seen on adult honey bees, they are most commonly seen on queen bees. Several (up to 30 reported) can be found on a queen bee at one time, whereas there may only be one or two at most on worker honey bees. Phylogeny[edit] Since its discovery, the phylogenetic placement of Braulidae has been uncertain. Up until the 20th century, because of its unique characteristics, scientists were unaware of its placement.[1] Since very little is known about Braulidae, the species Braula coeca has been the most studied. •1818 Nitzsch thought it was pupiparous (young that have already reached the pupal state upon hatching). •1858 Leukart thought they were oviparous (young hatching from an egg), instead of ovoviviparous (eggs hatching within the mothers body, then emerging as live young). •1900’s they were thought to have been with Phoridae. •917 Hermann Schmitz noted a well-developed ptilinal fissure, making it an acalyptrate cyclorrhaphan (Schizophora) •1972 Willi Hennig, after much speculation, agreed with Schmitz and placed the Braulidae near the family Sphaeroceridae (Muscoidea & Anthomyzoinea) •1982 Hackman & Vaisanen did not include Braulidae within their fly classification. •2011 Wiegmann, et al. placed Braulidae within superfamily Ephydroidea, as the sister group to Drosophilidae.[3] References[edit]

^ a b c d e f Grimaldi, D.; Underwood, B.A. (1986). "Megabraula, a new genus for two new species of Braulidae (Diptera), and a discussion of braulid evolution". Systematic Entomology. 11: 427–438. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.1986.tb00534.x.  ^ Ellis, James, D. "Bee Louse, Bee Fly, or Braulid, Braula coeca Nitzsch (Diptera: Braulidae" (PDF). University of Florida.  ^ Wiegmann, Brian M.; et al. (2011). "Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 108 (14): 5690–5695. doi:10.1073/pnas.1012675108. CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)

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Extant Diptera families

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

Suborder Nematocera





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


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


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



Bibionidae (march flies, lovebugs)


Anisopodidae (wood gnats)

Sciaroidea (fungus gnats)

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



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


Psychodidae (moth flies)


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



Trichoceridae (winter crane flies)


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

Suborder Brachycera



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


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


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




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


Syrphidae (hoverflies) Pipunculidae (big-headed flies)




Conopidae (thick-headed flies)


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


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


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


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


Chyromyidae Heleomyzidae Sphaeroceridae (small dung flies) Nannodastiidae


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


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


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


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


Cryptochetidae Lonchaeidae (lance flies)



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


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


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



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



Austroleptidae Bolbomyiidae Rhagionidae (snipe flies)


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






Xylophagidae (awl flies)

List of families of Diptera

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q666083 ADW: Braulidae BugGuide: 178706 EoL: 494 EPPO: 1BRAUF Fauna Europaea: 10891 GBIF: 7286 ITIS: 1