Currently viewing the tag: "food chain"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Kleptoparasitic flies
Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:37 AM
Hi guys,
I got this photo of tiny flies trying to get to the ant captured by this jumping spider. Apparently they are Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) some of which are kleptoparasitic of spiders, some specialising in ant snacks such as this one. The spider is a female Salticid, Zenodorus orbiculatus known locally as ant hunters. She is about 7mm long so you can see how tiny those flies are.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Hi Trevor,
Though you have a long history of providing our site with awesome images of Australian fauna, this image is, in our opinion, one of the most fascinating. The fact that you captured this nuanced example of Kleptoparasitism is phenomenal. One animal stealing food or prey from another is common in the animal kingdom, and it is easily observed in our own brand new aquarium, but to photograph these minuscule creatures evolutionarily adapted to this activity is nothing short of fantastic. These Freeloader Flies, as they are called on one website, in the family Milichiidae, are described by Irina Brake on the Introduction to Milichiidae website: “Thu, 2009-02-12 13:48 — Irina Brake
The Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) are small, mostly black acalyptrate flies. The family contains about 240 described species in 19 genera and is worldwide in distribution.
The behavior of several species of Milichiidae is very specialized. For example, in some species the adults are myrmecophilous (= ant-loving), whilst in some others they are kleptoparasitic, feeding on the prey of spiders or predaceous insects.
The habitats of Milichiidae are diverse. Adults can be collected in open landscapes, such as steppes or meadows, in wadis, at the edges of forests, inside forests, in the forest canopy, in stables or houses, or even in caves. However, they do not seem to be attracted to coastal habitats or to other places near water.
The Milichiidae are divided into three subfamilies, Madizinae, Milichiinae, and Phyllomyzinae.
Common names
Common names are only rarely cited for Milichiidae and seem to be more of an invention of the author than a commonly used name. The English term “filth flies”, for example, which is sometimes used for Milichiidae, was introduced by Sabrosky (1959) in the title of a paper about the genus Meoneura , which now belongs to the family Carnidae. Sabrosky probably used the general expression “filth fly” to describe the biology rather than intending the term to be a common name for the family Milichiidae. The term “filth flies” is generally used for several different taxa associated with ‘filth’.
Since people keep stumbling over the name ‘Milichiidae, I herewith introduce a new english common name: “freeloader flies”. The name refers to the biology of Milichiidae. Definitions for ‘freeloader’ are: ‘ someone who takes advantage of the generosity of others’ ( wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn ) or ‘ one who depends on another for support without reciprocating’ ( http://www.answers.com ). ”
BugGuide also has information on the family Milichiidae. The Geocities website has some nice images of the Ant Eater Spider or Ant Hunter Spider, Zenodorus orbiculatus.

Correction: Mon Mar 23, 2009  7:08:13 AM America/Los_Angeles
Dear Daniel,
thanks for alerting me to your photo and citing my webpage. However, I
discussed it with a collegue of mine and we both think that your flies
are Chloropidae, not Milichiidae. Michael von Tschirnhaus is a
Chloropidae specialist and has more experience with actually watching
the live flies than I have. He wrote to me that from the habitus the
flies are certainly Chloropidae. There are several species who are
kleptoparasitic on spiders. He doesn’t know all Australian genera, so he
can’t tell you which genus it is. Many species of different genera
develop in spider cocons and stay with the spider for a longer period of
time. They can wait endless in the spider net.
Best wishes,
Irina

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

UNNECESSARY CARNAGE
Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 5:55 AM
Hi Bugman,
This basilisk lizard is not a pet. While sitting out by the pond fishing, this female ran over and grabbed the poor caterpillar. It was right in front of me on the ground and I didn’t see it until she grabbed it and it was too late. Do you have any idea what kind of caterpillar it was? It took the lizard around ten minutes to scarf it down. She looked pretty satisfied after she ate her prize.
Jordan
Costa Rica

Basilisk Lizard eats Silk Moth Caterpillar

Basilisk Lizard eats Silk Moth Caterpillar

Hi Jordan,
This is far from unnecessary carnage. That section of our website is devoted to the hapless creatures that are squashed and swatted by humans out of ignorance. This Basilisk Lizard is dining on a Giant Silk Moth Caterpillar as part of the beautiful Food Chain cycle that dictates many creature must eat or be eaten. It is difficult to ascertain the exact species of the caterpillar from the camera angle, but we are relatively certain it is in the family Saturniidae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Robber eats bee foodchain
Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 11:34 PM
Hi guys,
This robberfly has caught itself a native bee. It is dull and windy here today with a cyclone off the coast so I took the flash with me and was quite pleased with the result. Hope you like it too.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Robber Fly eats Bee

Robber Fly eats Bee

Hi Trevor,
Thanks for sending us a photo demonstrating your new technique. It looks like a studio portrait. We are a bit behind in our posting since we have embarked upon fulfilling a longtime desire to establish a home aquarium. This endeavor has occupied much of our free time since the cabinet needs to be stained and sealed before we can even begin to stock the aquarium with freshwater Amazon species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Food Chain of Events
Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 9:50 PM
Hi guys,
It appears these two small flys were having an argument and didn’t notice the lynx spider coming to make a meal of both. One of the flys looks like a common long legged fly but the bright blue one is a new one for me. It appears to have two large forward facing eyes, reminiscent of a jumping spider, set into a metallic looking carapace. Strange one eh?
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Lynx Spider gets Two-fer

Lynx Spider gets Two-fer

Hi Trevor,
Your photos always amuse us.  This tangle of bodies is quite wonderful.  Seems as though the Spider got a double meal, though it is uncertain that is will suck the fluids from both flies.

Lynx Spider eats two flies

Lynx Spider eats two flies

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Green Lynx with Bee
Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 10:42 AM
I found this photo from last August on my camera. Taken near Charlotte, NC.
This is a Green Lynx eating what I think is a Carpenter Bee.
It must be their favorite catch as there already is a picture of this on your site.
Great site,
Bob
Cornelius , NC, USA

Green Lynx eats Carpenter Bee

Green Lynx eats Carpenter Bee

Hi Bob,
Maybe you never had a chance to print your photo of a healthy female Green Lynx Spider feeding on a Carpenter Bee, but at least it is now online for the world to view.  Green Lynx spiders often wait for prey by perching on blossoms, so they eat many pollinating insects.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown Assassin with unknown wasp while mites hitch a ride (aussietrev)
Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 9:40 PM
Hi guys,
Found this tableau on a grass stem. The only thing I know ID for are the red mites on the assassin bug. Both the bug and the wasp are quite tiny. Any ideas anyone?
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Assassin Bug with prey and Mites

Assassin Bug with prey and Mites

Hi Trevor,
Sorry for the delay, but we have had a crazy busy week. While we agree with the Assassin Bug and Mites, we are unable to identify the species. We are not convinced the prey is a Wasp. It almost looks like another Hemipteran. We will see if Eric Eaton thinks Hemipteran or Hymenopteran.

Confirmation:
I agree with you, Daniel, the victim here is another hemipteran, something in the family Rhyparochromidae most likely.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination