The Brachyceran infraorder Tabanomorpha is a small group that consists primarily of two large families, the Tabanidae (horse and deer flies) and Rhagionidae (snipe flies), and an assortment of very small affiliated families, most of which have been (or could be, or sometimes are) included within the Rhagionidae. The Tabanomorpha is one of the two Brachyceran groups outside the Hippoboscoidea that contain blood-feeding (hematophagous) species, though they are not important disease vectors.
The larvae of tabanomorphs are primarily found in aquatic or semi-aquatic habitats, and are predatory. They often have "warts" or other body projections that may resemble the prolegs of caterpillars.
The infraorder Vermileonomorpha is often included within the Tabanomorpha, though the most recent classifications place them as its sister taxon. There are also some classifications that place the Nemestrinoidea within the Tabanomorp ha, though this is not widely accepted.
The Infraorder Tabanomorpha is a member of the Suborder Brachycera. Here is the complete "parentage" of Tabanomorpha:
- Domain: Eukaryota
Whittaker & Margulis,1978 - eukaryotes
- Kingdom: Animalia
C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
- Subkingdom: Bilateria
(Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983 - bilaterians
- Branch: Protostomia
Grobben, 1908 - protostomes
- Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa
A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - ecdysozoans
- Superphylum: Panarthropoda
- Phylum: Arthropoda
Latreille, 1829 - Arthropods
- Subphylum: Mandibulata Snodgrass, 1938
- Phylum: Arthropoda Latreille, 1829 - Arthropods
- Superphylum: Panarthropoda Cuvier
- Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - ecdysozoans
- Branch: Protostomia Grobben, 1908 - protostomes
- Subkingdom: Bilateria (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983 - bilaterians
- Kingdom: Animalia C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
The Infraorder Tabanomorpha is further organized into finer groupings including:
- Family (9): Acroceridae · Athericidae · Austroleptidae · Nemestrinidae · Pelecorhynchidae · Rhagionidae · Spaniidae · Tabanidae · Xylophagidae
Acroceridae is a small family of odd looking flies most closely related to Nemestrinidae. There are about 520 species in 50 genera. They are characterized by a humpbacked appearance and a small head, sometimes with a long proboscis for nectar. As such, acrocerids are commonly known as small-headed flies or hunchback-flies. Many are bee or wasp mimics. Their eyes are often holoptic; their heads seem to be composed primarily of ommatidia. They are cosmopolitan in distribution but rarely observed in most places; the majority of the over 500 species are known from fewer than 10 specimens. They are found most commonly in semi-arid tropical locations. [more]
Athericidae is a small family of flies known as water snipe-flies; they used to be placed in the family Rhagionidae. The adults mostly feed on nectar but some species feed on mammal blood. [more]
Nemestrinidae, or tangle-veined flies is a family of flies in the superfamily Nemestrinoidea, closely related to Acroceridae. The family is small but distributed worldwide, with about 300 species in 34 genera. Larvae are endoparasitoids of either grasshoppers (Trichopsideinae) or scarab beetles (Hirmoneurinae). Some are considered important in the control of grasshopper populations. Adults are often observed on flowers. [more]
Pelecorhynchidae is a small family of flies. All of the genera were originally placed in the family Rhagionidae, and their elevation to family rank has been controversial. Other phylogenetic analyses have supported Pelecorhynchidae as a distinct clade from Rhagionidae. The adults of Pelecorrhynchus mostly feed on nectar of Leptospermum flowers. Larvae have been collected in the damp margins of swamp areas, where they feed on earthworms. [more]
Rhagionidae or snipe flies are a small family of flies containing 21 genera. [more]
Insects in the order Diptera, family Tabanidae, are commonly called horse flies. Often considered pests for the bites that many inflict, they are among the world's largest true flies. They are known to be extremely noisy during flight. They are also important pollinators of flowers, especially in South Africa. Tabanids occur worldwide, being absent only at extreme northern and southern latitudes. Flies of this type are among those known sometimes as gadflies, breeze flies, zimbs or clegs. In Australia, they are known as "March Flies". In some areas of Canada, they are also known as Bull Dog Flies. Elsewhere the term "horse fly" refers to the unrelated dipteran family Bibionidae. [more]
The Brachyceran infraorder Xylophagomorpha is a small group that consists solely of the family Xylophagidae, which presently contains subfamilies that were sometimes considered to be two small related families (Coenomyiidae and Rachiceridae). Other obsolete names for members of this family include Exeretonevridae and Heterostomidae. [more]
At least 188 species and subspecies belong to the Family Xylophagidae.
More info about the Family Xylophagidae may be found here.
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