The Diptera-brachycera of Tasmania: Part III. Families Asilidae, Bombylidae, Empidae, Dolichopodidae and Phoridae

White, Arthur 1916 , 'The Diptera-brachycera of Tasmania: Part III. Families Asilidae, Bombylidae, Empidae, Dolichopodidae and Phoridae' , Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 148-266 .

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Family VII. Asilidae.
This family comprises the well-known and universally
distributed "Robber Flies," so called on account of their
predaceous habits. The species are of medium or large
size, the head attached to the thorax by a slender neck ;
front excavated between the eyes, which are separated
in both sexes; thorax with well-developed bristles; wings
with the normal venation of the Brachyctra, posterior cells
five in number, the three basal cells always long.
The Asilidae are strongly-built predaceous flies, attacking
insects of widely differing orders. I have seen a
specimen of Asiliis alcetus having as its prey a dragonfly
very much larger than itself. In Tasmania the species
are only of moderate size, but on the mainland of Australia
some very large species occur, one of these - Phellus glaucus —being one of the largest known diptera.
Moderate-sized or rather large sun-loving flies ; thoracic
bristles usually present, but these are often concealed under
dense furry pubescence; proboscis frequently much elongated;
legs thin and slender and almost without bristles;
wings with only three or four posterior cells.
Family IX. EMPIDAE The Empidae form a very large family of small flies of
inconspicuous appearance, which sometimes occur in
great abundance. They are predaceous in their
habits, preying on other diptera. Their habits are somewhat
diverse. Species of Hilara occur flying in numbers
over the surface of pools and streams, or, more rarely, over
the bare ground ; species of Empis may be found frequenting
flowers or dancing in the air ; those of Leptopeza frequenting
low vegetation. The greater number of Tasmanian
species occur in the spring time, whilst two species
are found in midwinter; during the height of summer but
few species are to be met with.
Most of the flies belonging to this family are partly or
altogether metallic green in colour, but this may be varied
with metallic blue, grey, or violet ; even the most soberly coloured
species usually exhibit at least a metallic tinge.
Frequently a great difference exists between the two sexes,
and owing to this fact, and also because the chief generic
and specific distinctions are shown by the male, I have,
with the exception of the unmistakeable genus Sciapus,
only described those species in which the male is known
to me. This gives a total of twelve Tasmanian species, but
this number is likely in the future to be greatly increased.
This family seems to be very poorly represented in
Australia, only five species having so far been described.
One of these is a curious, wingless form, discovered by Lea
in an ants' nest in Victoria, and described by him under
the name of Euterimorphin abdominalis. In Tasmania only
one species is at present known to occur.

Included at the end are an Addenda et Corrigenda for Part I and a systematic list of the species described in this paper.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:White, Arthur
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records, entomology, flies
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

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