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Ischiodon scutellaris (Fabricius, 1805)       

A brief overview of Ischiodon scutellaris 

Ischiodon scutellaris is a species of hover fly (Diptera: Syrphidae) that is known to provide ecosystem services by pollinating flowers during the adult stage

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Footnote Macro

Mengual, X., Ståhls, G., Láska, P., Mazánek, L., & Rojo, S. (2018). Molecular phylogenetics of the predatory lineage of flower flies Eupeodes‐Scaeva (Diptera: Syrphidae), with the description of the neotropical genus Austroscaeva gen. nov. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 56(2), 148-169.

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What is a hover fly?

The common term hover fly is used to refer to a group of flies that are commonly seen hovering around flowers during pollination. Other common names include flower flies or syrphid flies, with the latter referring to their scientific classification in the Family Syrphidae

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Footnote Macro

Naderloo, M., & Pashaei Rad, S. (2014). Diversity of hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) communities in different habitat types in Zanjan Province, Iran. ISRN Zoology, 2014, 1-5.

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Life cycle and associated biology in each stage

Hover flies are holometabolous insects, meaning their life cycle consists of four stages: egg, larvae, pupa and adult

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. Future work may be conducted to assess their developmental duration in the wild. 

Egg stage

The egg stage of I. scutellaris lasts for three to four days

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Source: Brenda Dobbs on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Annotations by Tan Jia Wei.

Larval stage

The larval stage of I. scutellaris is approximately five to seven days, with the larvae having three instars

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Source: Sara “Asher” Morris on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Ischiodon scutellaris larvae as biological control agent

Hover flies belonging to the subfamily Syrphinae, which includes I. scutellaris, are known for larvae that are specialised predators of aphids

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There is currently no literature on host plants and prey items of I. scutellaris in Singapore. However, records of such information from India may aid in understanding or predicting the species’ biology in Singapore as both countries experience tropical climate conditions.

Pupal stage

The pupal stage of I. scutellaris ranges from four to twelve days

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Source: gbohne on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Parasitism relationship

Ischiodon scutellaris is known to be parasitized by an Ichneumonid wasp, Diplazon laetatorius (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

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Source: Nikk on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Adult stage

The lifespan of adult I. scutellaris differs between the sexes, ranging from seven to eight days for adult male and eleven to twenty-two days for female

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. The description for adult I. scutellaris is provided under the taxonomy section.

Adult hover fly as pollinator

Along with bees and butterflies, hover flies are also avid pollinators of flowers

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Footnote Macro

Glaum, P. (2017). A theoretical basis for the study of predatory syrphid fly ecology. Theoretical Ecology, 10(4), 391-402.

in the future.

Batesian mimicry

Hover flies are often mistaken as Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and others) at first glance due to morphological similarities, in terms of body size, colour and shape. It is hypothesised that hover flies mimic Hymenoptera to avoid predatory attacks by birds. This phenomenon is also known as “Batesian mimicry” – a term used to describe the situation where a palatable species looks similar to a non-palatable species in order to escape predation. Batesian mimicry is widespread in insects, and especially prevalent in hover flies. In addition to morphological similarities, there are also records of hover flies mimicking the behaviour of Hymenoptera, such as visiting flowers at similar timings

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Right. A hover fly, Ischiodon scutellaris. Source: satish nikam on Flickr, licensed under CC BY NC-SA 2.0. Annotations by Tan Jia Wei.

Taxonomy 

Original description

Ischiodon scutellaris was first described in Systema antliatorum in 1805 by Johan Christian Fabricius as Scaeva scutellaris. There was no mention of the species concept used to confer the species status (Figure 9).

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Source: Biodiversity Heritage Library under Fair Use.

Etymology

The genus name Ischiodon consists of the neuter adjective ischion derived from the Greek word ischion which means “hips, coxa”, and the masculine Greek noun odontos or odous (odon) which means “tooth”. Combined together, Ischiodon refers to the spur on the metatrochanter in some species

Footnote Macro

Mengual, X. (2018). A new species of Ischiodon sack (Diptera, Syrphidae) from Madagascar. African Invertebrates, 59(1), 55-73.

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Morphological description   

The genus Ischiodon currently consists of a total of four species (I. scutellaris, I. aegyptius, I. astales, I. feae) that ranges from small to medium sizes, and have a slender outlook. The face is yellow-coloured and eyes are bare. For females, the eyes are separated in the middle while for males, the eyes meet together. The thorax is black with yellow streaks at the lateral sides. The scutellum is yellow and slightly brownish on the disc. The abdomen is elongated, with the areas in black becoming yellowish or reddish towards the abdominal end

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Annotations by Tan Jia Wei.

Distribution

Ischiodon scutellaris is found in Caucasus, Greece, Iran, Kazakhstan, Arabian Peninsula southern to Indomalayan Region, Japan, Australasian Region and Oriental Regions

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Footnote Macro

Mengual, X. (2018). A new species of Ischiodon sack (Diptera, Syrphidae) from Madagascar. African Invertebrates, 59(1), 55-73.

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Type specimen

The syntype of Scaeva scutellaris (now Ischiodon scutellaris) is kept in the Zoological Museum at the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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. A syntype refers to a specimen in a series of specimens used to describe the species. An image of the syntype is not available.

Species concept

In the original description by Fabricius (1805), there was no mention of the species concept used to delimit the species. This page is of the opinion that the Phylogenetic species concept (sensu Wheeler & Platnick (2000))

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Footnote Macro

Mengual, X. (2018). A new species of Ischiodon sack (Diptera, Syrphidae) from Madagascar. African Invertebrates, 59(1), 55-73.

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Synonyms

Ischiodon scutellaris has many synonyms because the genus Ischiodon is morphologically similar to many syrphid genera

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Sphaerophoria macquarti (Goot, 1964)

Phylogeny

Phylogenetic study in 2018

A phylogenetic study in 2018

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Taken from Mengual et al. (2018) under Fair Use. Annotation in red by Tan Jia Wei.

Phylogenetic study in 2008

Previously in 2008, a study

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Taken from Mengual, Ståhls & Rojo (2008) under Fair Use. Annotation in red by Tan Jia Wei.

Some concluding statements on the phylogenetic position of Ischiodon scutellaris

Why is the phylogenetic position of I. scutellaris confident in the phylogenetic study in 2018 but not in 2008? Some possible reasons may include number of taxa, number of genes sequenced, the alignment method or the optimality criteria used for the phylogenetic analysis (Table 1). 

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In conclusion, to resolve phylogenetic relationships confidently, greater number of genes should be sequenced to attain higher node support values and data should be explored with different techniques.

References 

Display Footnotes Macro