oa Annals of the Natal Museum - Afrotropical Asilidae (Diptera) 26. Ethological observations, and a possible ecological classification based on habitats

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0304-0798



Biological information relating to Afrotropical Asilidae is briefly reviewed. An ecological classification of genera, based on field-observed surveillance positions adopted by adults, is proposed. Six major categories, each usually subdivided into secondary categories, are employed viz. I. Ground (a. Beaches, b. River banks, c. General); 2. Stones (a. Riparian, b. General); 3. Rocks; 4. Grass (a. Within, b. Tips); 5. Shrubs & bushes (a. Within, b. Tips); 6. Trees (a. Within, b. Tips). Based on ovipositor structure, asilid genera are further analysed in terms of their oviposition behaviour within the identified ecological categories. Three oviposition strategies are identified viz. 1. Random egg-dropping; 2. Oviposition in sand or soil; 3. Oviposition on or in vegetation. Finally, based on an analysis of 1608 accumulated prey records, the importance of prey choice within the suggested ecological classification is briefly discussed. An important point arising from this work, is that field-experienced taxonomists are best placed to promote the much-needed ecological work still required to be undertaken on the vast majority of insect taxa.

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