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Showing posts with label : syrphidae

July 26, 2016

Phytotelmata: Miniature Breeding Grounds for Mosquitoes and Rat-tailed Maggots

The author, Emily Hartop, investigating a phytotelma formed by exposed tree roots. Photo by Brian Brown.

One of the many benefits of doing research in urban environments is the ability to spend a day in "the field" by simply walking out your door. Brian Brown (Curator of Entomology at NHM) and I did just that on a recent morning, and found ourselves investigating some unexpected phytotelmata in the exposed roots of large Ficus trees growing in front of the Exposition Park Rose Garden next door to the NHM.

Phytotelma (plural phytotelmata) is a fancy word that translates as "plant pond" and refers to any captured water environments created by plants. Some plants have evolved specifically for this purpose, like...


May 24, 2016

War of the Larvae: Ladybug Grub Eats Flower Fly Maggot!

Immature ladybug eating flower fly larva, photo by Brian Brown.

Urban Nature Research Center (UNRC) co-director Dr. Brian Brown recently wandered out of his home into his Monrovia backyard and caught sight of something unexpected on the outside of his insect trap: an immature ladybug (also known as a larva or grub) consuming the larva of a flower fly (also known as a maggot).  The large, tent-like Malaise trap—used in the UNRC's BioSCAN project to collect and study flying insects from multiple sites across Los Angeles—has a sloped, white mesh cover that serves as a perfect backdrop to capture an image of a bristly black and orange ladybug larva mid-meal....


January 20, 2012

Aphid Eating Flower Fly Found in North Campus

There are over 150,000 species of flies in the world! Most visitors who come to the Museum can name only a few of these flies (house fly, horse fly, or mosquito for examples) and many hold the belief that we would be better off without flies in our world. On Wednesday, January 18, we found a fly that I am sure will help you realize that all flies can't be cast as "bad" characters I introduce the humble aphid eating flower fly, Eupeodes volucris.

Female Eupeodes volucris
Photo taken by Jerry Friedman

Why do people like these flies and not others? This isn't an easy question to answer, but I'll have a go... First of all, these flies eat aphids and as any gardener will tell you, aphids are a serious garden pest....