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Flower Visitation by Adult Shore Flies at an Inland Site in Florida (Diptera: Ephydridae)

Florida Entomologist


504 Florida Entomologist 91(3) September 2008 FLOWER VISITATION BY ADULT SHORE FLIES AT AN INLAND SITE IN FLORIDA ( DIPTERA: EPHYDRIDAE) M ARK D EYRUP 1 AND L EIF D EYRUP 2 1 Archbold Biological Station, P.O. Box 2057, Lake Placid, FL 33862 E-Mail: [email protected] 2 P.O. Box 55, Wayne, ME 04284 Shore flies (Ephydridae) are small acalypter- ates whose larvae are usually aquatic or semi- aquatic. Adult feeding habits are varied and known for only a small proportion of species. Most adults consume algae or bacterial slurries, but some are predators on smaller arthropods, scav- engers, or nectar feeders (Wirth et al. 1987). At the Archbold Biological Station in south-central Florida some adult ephydrids occur regularly on flowers. These species and their floral hosts are listed below. The Archbold Biological Station (ABS), located in Highlands County, is near the south end of the Lake Wales Ridge, a distinctive sandy upland. During the rainy season (Jun-Oct) low areas on the Ridge accumulate water in extensive shallow ponds, more than 150 of which occur on the ABS. These ponds usually dry up in winter and spring. Their drying shores become zones of biological hy- peractivity as oxygen becomes more available for plants and animals, stranded aquatic organisms die, algae become concentrated, and nutrients are released. Such edges are ideal for a variety of shore flies. Drying ditches and a permanent lake also produce ephydrids. About 45 species of ephydrids are known from the ABS, but there are probably many additional species. Only a small number of species are known to visit flowers at the ABS. Specimens were collected with nets and aspi- rators from open flowers over a period of about 20 years. Over 150 species of plants were examined, of which only a small proportion attracted ephy- drids. Only 1 or 2 representative specimens of each species were

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