Feeding Behaviour


Host Spectrum

Steganinae larvae often exhibit zoophilic feeding habits (Ashburner, 1981), but in the adult stages this behaviour is confined to three genera: Amiota, Phortica and the very rare genus Apsiphortica (Otranto et al., 2006a). Adults of these genera are reported as feeding on fermenting tree sap (Okada, 1962), as well as on rotten fungi and fox faeces (Papp, 2002). But they are also attracted by the eye secretions of humans and animals such as dogs and other carnivores (Bächli et al., 2004). Concerning Phortica variegata, Otranto et al. (2006b) could only collect male flies around the eyes, feeding on a human bait, whereas a 1:4 male:female ratio was registered around a fruit bait. The zoophilic behaviour and thus the vector capacity for Thelazia callipaeda were hypothesised to be restricted to male P. variegata.

Further information

  • Ashburner M: Entomophagous and other bizarre Drosophilidae. In: Ashburner M, Carson HL, Thompson JN (eds.): The Genetics and Biology of Drosophila. Vol. 3A, 1981, Academic Press, London, pp 395-429
  • Bächli G, Vilela CR, Andersson Escher S, et al.: The Drososphilidae (Diptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomol Scan. 2004, Vol. 39, Brill, Leiden, pp 80-7
  • Okada T: Bleeding sap preference of the Drososphilid flies. Jap J Appl Entomol Zool. 1962, 3, 216-29
  • Otranto D, Brianti E, Cantacessi C, et al.: The zoophilic fruitfly Phortica variegata: morphology, ecology and biological niche. Med Vet Entomol., 2006a, 20, 358-64
  • Otranto D, Cantacessi C, Testini G, et al.: Phortica variegata as an intermediate host of Thelazia callipaeda under natural conditions: evidence for pathogen transmission by a male arthropod vector. Int J Parasitol. 2006b, 36, 1167-73
  • Papp L: Dipterous guilds of small-sized feeding sources in forests of Hungary. Acta Zool Acad Sci Hung. 2002, 48, 197-213

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