|scientific name Laphria |
Asilid flies are generally located in sunny, open areas. Laphria spp. are more closely associated with open areas near boreal and coniferous forests (Adisoemarto 1967).
Adults are found generally mid to late summer.
The genus Laphria contains generally robust, bee-mimicking flies, sharing the characteristic Asilidae feeding mechanism and predatory behavior (see below: Diet Information). Asilidae possess a sclerotized proboscis resulting from the fusion of the labella and prementum, a mystax (row of stout hairs surrounding the mouthparts), and three ocelli (versus one in family Mydidae). The genus Laphria is characterized by R2+3 joining R1 before the wing margin, apically blunt antennae, two-segmented palpi, first flagellomeres lacking styli, a laterally-compressed proboscis, and hind femurs lacking tubercles (Adisoemarto 1967; Wood 1981).
Species of the genus Laphria do not exhibit courtship behaviors. Males establish mating areas such as downed logs, and chase and grapple with females and other males that enter this area. Other males are apparently released without harm. Females, upon being caught, are promptly mounted and mating begins. The coupled pair then flies to a perch location where mating continues tail-to-tail.
Female Laphria oviposit in the crevices of bark, downed wood, or in pine needles on the forest floor. Larval stages live in soil and rotting wood, and their biology is poorly understood, though they are currently thought to be predacious on eggs and larvae of other insects (Hull 1962; Wood 1981; Lavigne 1984).
Conservation is generally not a concern for species of the genus Laphria.
Adult Asilidae are voracious predators of various insects including bees and wasps. They typically perch in sunny areas, darting out to grab prey in mid flight. The prey is then stabbed with the hypopharynx in soft areas such as between sclerites, and injected with neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes. The asilid then sucks out the dissolved tissue (Hull 1962; Wood 1981).
Widespread. Laphria are found at northern latitudes around the world (McAtee 1919; Adisoemarto 1967).
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