The Aquatic Larvae of the Soldier Fly in High Definition

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Larvae may be either aquatic or terrestrial. In regards to nutrition they may be saprophagous, mycophagous, or predatory. The larva is apodous and eucephalic and cylindrical-fusiform, depressed dorso-ventrally and distinctly size of the mature larva is variable, depending on the species, from less than 1 cm in length up to 3-5 cm. The head is much narrower than the thorax and partially sunken into integument is strongly sclerotized with the cuticle containing inclusions of calcium carbonate with hexagonal crystals which form a characteristic micro-sculpture. In aquatic species , the last urite is thin and more or less elongated forming a breathing tube which ends with a tuft of waterproofing bristles. It is used to draw air from the surface, the larva remaining pupa develops inside the exuvium of the last larval stage, a feature common to all Stratiomyomorpha. The pupation within the larval exuvium constitutes a case of evolutionary convergence with Cyclorrhapha , in which group there is the formation of a true puparium .BiologyThe larvae of Stratiomyidae are characterized by a wide variety of behaviours and diet is mainly scavenger , but aquatic species also feed on algae. Not very frequent are zoophagia, predation and aquatic larvae are sometimes characterized by particularly specific habitat requirements. For example, several species colonize rocks covered by a thin layer of water (hygropetric), others are found in brackish water, some in thermal springs. In general, though, Stratiomyidae larvae colonize stagnant waters or rivers near the shores, seeking the richest vegetation, algae and larvae are found in organic substrates in decomposing vegetable matter and animal excreta, in moist soils and litter, under the bark of trees, Inopus rubriceps (Macquart) the sugarcane soldier fly is a pest the larvae attack the roots of sugarcane in are glucophagous and visit flowers to feed on nectar or do not feed dedicating their short lives to reproduction. Unlike other dipterous scavengers, adults of Stratiomyidae not have relationships with the growth substrate of the larvae, except for development takes place with a variable number of moults, depending on the species, up to 10 larval stages. Particularly well known is the postembryonic development of Hermetia illucens , whose larvae develop through 6 credit: PristurusLicense: CC BY-SA

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