Insect evolution, from a free to a parasitic lifestyle, took eons under the pressure of a plethora of ecological and environmental drivers in different habitats, resulting in varying degrees of interactions with their hosts. Most Drosophilidae are known to be adapted to feeding on substrates rich in bacteria, yeasts and other microfungi. Some of them, mainly those in the Steganinae subfamily, display a singular behaviour, feeding on animal tissues or secretions. This behaviour may represent an evolving tendency towards parasitism. Indeed, while the predatory attitude is typical for the larval stages of a great proportion of flies within this subfamily, adult males of the genera Amiota, Apsiphortica and Phortica display a clearly zoophilic attitude, feeding on the lachrymal secretions of living mammals (also referred as to lachryphagy). Ultimately, some of these lachryphagous species act as vectors and intermediate hosts for the spirurid nematode Thelazia callipaeda, which parasitizes the eyes of domestic and wild carnivores and also humans. Here we review the scientific information available and provide an opinion on the roots of their evolution towards the parasitic behaviour. The distribution of T. callipaeda and its host affiliation is also discussed and future trends in the study of the ecology of Steganinae are outlined.
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|Titolo:||Drosophilidae feeding on animals and the inherent mystery of their parasitism|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|