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The Nematocera (the name means "thread-horns") are a suborder of elongated flies with thin, segmented antennae and mostly aquatic larvae. Major families in the suborder include the mosquitoes, crane flies, gnats, black flies, and a group of families described as midges.

Nematocera
Aedes aegypti.jpg
Aedes aegypti, a disease-carrying mosquito
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Nematocera
Latreille, 1825
Infraorders

Axymyiomorpha
Culicomorpha
Blephariceromorpha
Bibionomorpha
Psychodomorpha
Ptychopteromorpha
Tipulomorpha

Typical Nematocera: male and female mosquito. Note the difference in the antennae
Mosquito larva, showing the distinct head

The Nematocera typically have fairly long, fine, finely-jointed antennae. In this they differ from the most familiar flies, the suborder Brachycera (the name means "short-horns"), which includes the house flies, blow flies and many similar flies; Brachcera generally have short, stubby antennae. In many species, such as most mosquitoes, the female antennae are more or less threadlike, but the males have spectacularly plumose antennae.

The larvae of most families of Nematocera are aquatic, either free-swimming, rock-dwelling, plant-dwelling, or luticolous. Some families however, are not aquatic; for instance the Tipulidae tend to be soil-dwelling and the Mycetophilidae feed on fungi such as mushrooms. Unlike most of the Brachycera, the larvae of Nematocera have distinct heads with mouthparts that may be modified for filter feeding or chewing, depending on their lifestyles.

The pupae are orthorrhaphous which means that adults emerge from the pupa through a straight, longitudinal seam in the dorsal surface of the pupal cuticle.

The bodies and legs of most adult Nematocera are elongated, and many species have relatively long abdomens.

Males of many species form mating swarms like faint pillars of smoke, competing for females that visit the cloud of males to find a mate.

FamiliesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Borror, D. J., DeLong, D. M., Triplehorn, C. A.(1976) Fourth edition. An introduction to the study of insects. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. New York, Chicago. ISBN 0-03-088406-3
  • Arnett, R. H. Jr. (2000) Second edition. American insects. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Londres,New York, Washington, D. C. ISBN 0-8493-0212-9

External linksEdit