Fly Pollinators - Notes


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Fly Pollinators - Notes

  1. 1. 1/6/2013 Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Flower Flies & Friends: Fly Pollinators & Other Beneficial Dipterans in the Garden and the Wild C.M. Vadheim and T. Drake CSU Dominguez Hills & Madrona Marsh Preserve Arthur Johnson Center – Friends of Gardena Willows Wetland Gardening with Western L.A. County Native Plants Preserve Project SOUND – 2012 (our 8th year) July 12, 2012 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Colony Collapse Disorder – our wake-up call I’m worried about our food Global climate change Decreasing effectiveness of artificial pest control Loss of crop biodiversity Genetic modification of crop plants Loss of native habitat collapse-disorder.html © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 1
  2. 2. 1/6/2013 Can we still find answers in the wild? © Project SOUND Who in the heck are all those little guys? © Project SOUND Class Insecta – the insects Dipterans are numerous  Flies actually represent a large part of metazoan diversity. There are about 1 million named insect species.  With ~152,000 named species and many more unnamed species, flies account for no less than 1 in 10 species on Earth  And most of those species are living lives that benefit the environment © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 2
  3. 3. 1/6/2013 Evolution of the How many insect species? Difficult to Flies know for sure  Some of the numbers of 1. There are many named insects species are: families/sub-orders of Dipterans  Beetles, 360,000  Butterflies and Moths: 2. There’s lots of 170,000 diversity among them  Flies: 120,000-150,000+  Bees, wasps and ants: 110,000 3. Families vary in size/ number of species  True bugs: 82,000  Grasshoppers: 20,000 4. Some of the sub-  Dragonflies: 5,000 orders & families are quite ancient, while isms.html others are more recent © Project SOUND © Project SOUND How old are the Some ancient Dipterans Dipterans? look very similar to today’s species 50 million year old Crane Fly  Dipterans are successful insects that have succeeded – and diversified – over time They must be well-adapted to their   3,125 species are known only from fossils environment(s) – and tough (survived  The oldest, a limoniid crane fly, is some 225 MILLION years massive climate changes in past) old (Upper Triassic (Carnian). © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 3
  4. 4. 1/6/2013 The true flies (Diptera)  One of the most species Distinguishing Diptera rich, anatomically varied and ecologically innovative (true flies) from bees groups of organisms  Diptera have only one pair of  An estimated 150,000+ wings; a second pair of wings species of Diptera have evolved into small dumb-bell been described, however, the total number of extant shaped "halteres", which are fly species is many times used for balance during flight. greater. Typical Fly (The two-winged fly is an advancement in flight; that why  The living dipteran species flies can hover) have been classified into about :  No stinger  10,000 genera, 150 families  Sucking mouthparts  22-32 superfamilies  8-10 infraorders  Very large, compound eyes  2 suborders  Antennae: either long or short. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Bee mimics are common Full 4-stage life cycle (like a butterfly) among Dipterans  Some flies, such as syrphids,  Egg - laid in a variety of masquerade as bees and wasps. environments, based on However, the pollinating flies canThe syrphid fly is a bee mimic. speciesPhoto by Beatriz Moisset 2002-2004. be distinguished with a sharp eye – or better yet, a camera.  Larva – usually several stages – wide variation in  The flies have only one pair of food sources (parasitic; wings while bees and wasps have plant; dung; decaying two pairs of wings. matter  Comical, robust and extremely hairy  Pupa – brief or may are the bee flies (bombylids), some include a hibernation with tongues as long as their bodies!  AdultThe tachnid fly is similar in generalappearance to bees or wasps. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 4
  5. 5. 1/6/2013 Flies have gotten a bad reputation Flies have been disliked in many cultures  Just a few species of flies command the most public attention  Among them are important pests:  House flies – pesky; bite; carriers  Horse flies “  Mosquitoes “ Housefly: Musca domestica  Blow-flies flies their attributes have beenelevated to hero status inothers Blue-bottle Fly: a common Blow-fly © Project SOUND Horse-fly: family Tabanidae © Project SOUND Why don’t we hear more about the good Why we should worry about Dipterans: Dipterans? importance of flies to ecosystems  They are harder to study & watch/photograph/raise  Pollinators  They are less specialized –  Pest control agents – aphids, people tend to like to study beetle grubs, moth caterpillars specialized creatures  Food for others (bats; reptiles;  They are not as cute as other fish; birds; other insects) pollinators – ‘fuzzy bees’ – lacking  Decomposers & soil conditioners in the charisma department  Water quality indicators  They have gotten a bad rap – the ‘yuck factor’  And much more (including some functions we probably don’t even  They need a new PR person know yet) © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 5
  6. 6. 1/6/2013 Why worry about pollinators? Why worry about Dipterans? Can’t the  Pollinators are “keystone organisms” bees do the pollination work? in most terrestrial ecosystems.  Pollinators are essential for  Flies and bees are the two most maintaining the integrity, important insect pollinator groups. productivity and sustainability of many types of ecosystems: natural  Over 71 families of Diptera are areas, pastures, fields, meadows, known to visit and pollinate roadsides, many agricultural crops, flowers, linking the fate of plants fruit orchards, and backyard and animals. vegetable and flower gardens.  Without insect pollinators, many  Depending on the region, the time flowering plants would eventually It turns out the pollination is of the day, the flowering become extinct. a lot more complex than phenology and weather conditions, flies may be the main or  Without the work of pollinators, early agricultural studies exclusive pollinators, or share many fruit- and seed-eating birds lead us to believe pollination services with bees and and some mammals, including people, would have a less varied and less other pollinator groups. healthy diet. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Even before colony collapse disorder, Diptera – our oldest and most wide- some people were concerned… spread pollinators  Depending on a single source  Diptera, the true flies, are an – for anything – should make important, but neglected us all nervous group of pollinators.  Better to ‘diversify the portfolio’ – Dipterans are a  They are an ancient group, part and were probably among the first pollinators of early flowering plants.  Flies live almost everywhere in terrestrial ecosystems – arctics to tropics for-honey-bee-colony-collapse-disorder-discovered/  Are abundant in most European Honey Bee Apis mellifera terrestrial habitats © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 6
  7. 7. 1/6/2013 Fly pollinators: specialists & generalists In some situations, flies are the main pollinators, so they clearly have potential  Dipterans are an extremely diverse group, varying in mouth parts, tongue length, size and degree of pilosity.  In some habitats, such as the forest under-story where shrubs  The diversity of flower-visiting flies is may produce small, inconspicuous, reflected in their effectiveness as dioecious flowers, flies seem to be pollinators. Some flies, such as long- particularly important pollinators. tongued tabanids of South Africa, have specialized relationships with  In arctic and alpine environments, individual flower genera/species (much under conditions of reduced bee like some bees/butterflies) activity, flies are often the main  Other flies are generalists, feeding pollinators of open, bowl-shaped from a wide variety of flowers. But flowers, with readily accessible they like to visit many of the same pollen and nectar. type while they’re in the neighborhood © Project SOUND © Project SOUND How do the Dipterans compare to other How does Mother Nature play it safe with pollinators? The experts say… regards to pollination?  Many flies are generalists; their contributions to plant reproductive success are sometimes  Most insect pollinated flowers receive visits discounted because of their reputation as from several different types of insects: ineffective pollinators. bees, flies, beetles, bugs, etc.  However, the complexity of interactions in  In a study of 2200 CA plant species: redundant pollination systems is little studied & deserves further attention.By hedging her odds  71% of the out-crossing species were visited by two potential pollinators  When multiple pollinator species visit the  49% were visited by three or more potential same flowers, their respective value as pollinators pollinators is interdependent and may differ from year-to-year or even over the  Redundancy in pollination systems is course of the flowering season. probably the rule, rather than the exception.  Inefficient pollinators are needed when the more efficient pollinators are absent © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 7
  8. 8. 1/6/2013Bee vs Fly pollination: the tortoise & the hare Oregon study: Mountain Meadows - Presence of host plant pollen  Conditions affecting bee populations can be Syrphid flies Bumble bee quite different from those affecting fly populations due to the great difference in larval requirements.  Many types of flies have few hairs when compared to bees, and pollen is less likely to adhere to the body surface. But under conditions when bees are scarce, an inefficient pollinator is better than none.  Higher flight activities of flies may well compensate lower pollen carrying capacity. Even in cases where honeybees are abundant on flowers and specialised bees are foraging, flower flies (Syrphidae) can be the most effective pollinators producing the highest Present Absent seed set. © Project SOUND Cultivated plants pollinated by flies So what kinds of plants are known to be  More than 100 cultivated crops are regularly visited by flies and Dipteran pollinated? depend largely on fly pollination for abundant fruit set and seed production . Examples:  At least seventy-one of the 150 Diptera families include flies that  The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) feed at flowers as adults.  Tropical fruits such as Mango (Mangifera indica), Capsicum annuum and Piper nigrum, pawpaw (Asimina triloba)  More than 550 species of flowering  Fruit-bearing Rosaceae: Apple (Malus domestica) and Pear (Pyrus communis) trees, strawberries (Fragaria vesca, F. x ananassa), Prunus plants are regularly visited by species (cherries, plums, apricot and peach), Sorbus species (e.g. Diptera that are potential Rowanberry) and most of the Rubus-species (Raspberry, Blackberry, pollinators. And that’s just the tip Cloudberry etc.) as well as the wild rose Drone fly pollinating aster of the iceberg: few fly pollinator  Spices and vegetable plants of the family Apiaceae like fennel (Foeniculum surveys exist! vulgare), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), caraway (Carum carvi), kitchen onions (Allium cepa), parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and carrots (Daucus  Diptera have been documented to carota) be primary pollinators for many  In addition a large number of wild relatives of food plants, numerous plant species, both wild and medicinal plants and cultivated garden plants benefit from fly cultivated. pollination. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 8
  9. 9. 1/6/2013 What native plants attract fly pollinators? Why are these plants ‘insect magnets’? The ‘insect-magnet’ plants Sunflower family (Asteraceae)  Yarrow (Achillea millefolia)  Goldenrods (Solidago & Euthamia spp.)  Fall-blooming shrubs (Baccharis; Ericameria; Goldenbushes, Tarplants Rose family  Pink and white-flowered species The Buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.) © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Western Yarrow – Achilla millefolia The Yarrows – horticultural plants extraordinaire  Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)  Cultivated in Europe ??thousands of years  About half a dozen species are commonly grown as garden plants  Natural variation in color has been exploited – many named cultivars – yellow, pink, red, purple  The species name, millefolium-of a thousand leaves-describes the fine, feathery foliage which resembles a fern. /plant_pages/Achilleamillefolium.html 9
  10. 10. 1/6/2013 Western Yarrow – Achilla millefolia Western Yarrow can be used in many ways!  Found in most of CA  Slopes, hillsides  60-100 species of Achillia  Mixtures worldwide – northern hemisphere  Good garden plant for fresh or dry floral arrangements  In CA, found in seasonally wet places:  Foliage is pleasantly fragrant when,615,616 crushed – used for tea, medicinals  Meadows and pastures  Along stream edges  Can be mowed to form a highly  In sand dunes competitive ground cover to control soil erosion.  Along alkali sinks  On coastal strand  Flowers!!!  In coastal grasslands  In Coastal Sage Scrub and  Good butterfly/insect plant Chaparral J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database Success with Yarrow Why Yarrow makes a good lawn substitute is almost guaranteed  Spreads quickly, giving good  Yarrow can endure dry, cover impoverished soil  Super for banks and other areas that can’t easily be mowed  Survives with little maintenance – neglect  Spreading habit inhibits weeds  Best in full sun; grows but less  Can be mowed – occasionally and flowering in shade on high setting w/ rotary mower  A true perennial taking two  Companion plant – attracts beneficial insects, repels others years to become established  Does well on poor, dry, sandy  Included in most commercial soils where other plants grow mixed ‘native lawn’ mixes poorly Gary A. Monroe @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database 10
  11. 11. 1/6/2013 What is it about Yarrow that attracts? So we’ve discovered one type of ‘fly plant’  Myophily  Adult flies feed on nectar & pollen; less often on fruit  Common examples: bee flies (Bombyliidae), hoverflies (Syrphidae)  Regularly visit flowers to feed, while also pollinating.  Sapromyophily  Adults normally visit dead animals or  White/pink color dung to lay eggs.  Many tiny flowers per cluster; many clusters per plant  Attracted to flowers that mimic these  Flower structure relative open; easy to access odoriferous items. These plants have a strong, unpleasant odor, and are brown  Floral clusters relatively flat – also allows easy access Skunk cabbages strong smell or orange in color.  +/- Sweet scent and dark color attract carrion  The plant may have traps to slow them  Produce lots of high quality nectar & pollen flies that lay their eggs thinking down and become inadvertent pollinators © Project SOUND that it is rotting flesh. © Project SOUND  Pale color (whites, pinks, What native plants attract fly pollinators?Myophily fly flowers purples and blues most common) The ‘insect-magnet’ plants  Dull surface; may be nectar  Sunflower family (Asteraceae) guides  Yarrow (Achillea millefolia)  Produce abundant pollen  Native Thistles (Cirsium)  Goldenrods (Solidago & Euthamia spp.)  Produce high quality nectar  Fall-blooming shrubs (Baccharis; Ericameria; Goldenbushes  Flower are open; nectar easily  Rose family available  Pink and white-flowered species  Male and female parts of the  The Buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.) flower are well exposed.  Native Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.)  Many of these flowers are  The Mustard family (Brassicaceae)Buckwheats (Eriogonum) are good scented, but for the most part,candidates as fly flowers the scent is imperceptible.  Euphorbia & Sedum species © Project SOUND  The Carrot family (Apiaceae) © Project SOUND 11
  12. 12. 1/6/2013 Water Parsley – Oenanthe sarmentosa Water Parsley – Oenanthe sarmentosa  Coastal California to British Columbia Canada; also western Sierra foothills  Local historically: Ballona, West LA, San Pedro, Long,478,480 Beach (Bixby Ranch)  Grows in marshes, ditches, pond edges, slow-moving streams, seasonally wet places, from near coastline up to ~ 5000 ft. © 2002 Brad Kelley © Project SOUND © Project SOUND © 2006, G. D. Carr Large plants in the Carrot Family Queen Anne’s Lace: natural roadsides and grandmother’s garden  Actually a garden escape – like ‘Wild Mustard’ or ‘Wild Radish’ – a weed that has naturalized extensively.  A true carrot - Daucus carota; domesticated carrots are cultivars of Daucus carota ssp. sativus.  Native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia  The plant was introduced into this country during colonial times. It probably came * Henderson’s Angelica – across the ocean in sacks of grain, perhaps Water Parsley – Angelica hendersonii with the Pilgrims. Common Cowparsnip – Oenanthe sarmentosa Heracleum maximum  Should NOT be planted – use our natives4-8 ft. tall; very large coarse leaves from the Carrot family instead. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 12
  13. 13. 1/6/2013  Size:Looks rather like Leaf Celery  2-4 ft tall Flowers are numerous  2-3 ft wide  Blooms  Late spring to summer: usually  Growth form: May to July in Western L.A.  Herbaceous perennial; dies County back in fall/winter  Weak, succulent stems  Flowers:  Many-branched  Tiny white flowers typical of the Carrot family (Apiaceae); old-© 2003 Lee Dittmann  Foliage: fashioned look  Compound leaves - oddly  Flowers more loosely packed – pinnate (simple or double) – can usually see the compound margins coarsely toothed umbels easily  Overall shape triangular  Flowers attract a wide range of  Anise Swallowtail larval food nectaring insects: butterflies,  Handle with gloves – may native bees, flies & others cause skin allergies  Seeds:  Roots: fibrous roots and slender  Flat, ribbed seeds white rhizomes - spreads © 2004, Ben Legler  Use fresh seeds; multiple rinses © 2011 Zoya Akulova © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Easy to grow with  Soils: Water Parsley in the Garden  Texture: most adequate water  Excellent choice for large containers – can  pH: any local provide the moisture it needs + contain  Light:  Around ponds, water gardens; in pots in  Full sun to light/dappled shallow water shade for good flowering  Moist woodland habitat gardens  Seeds/roots used as an emetic, pounded  Water: roots used as a laxative  Winter: tolerates very moist conditions, even shallow standing water  Summer: like moist soil – Water Zones 2-3 or 3  Fertilizer:  Fine with light fertilizer  Leaf mulch will add some nutrients  Other: organic mulch © Project SOUND 2157621911287568/ © 2012 Aaron Arthur © Project SOUND © 2004, Ben Legler 13
  14. 14. 1/6/2013What pollinator flies will we attract with Family  Large family: ~ 6000 named species Water Parsley? Syrphidae  Often called syrphids, hover flies, flower flies or sweat bees. Small/medium size  The most important fly pollinators  Occur in wide range of habitats worldwide: are Hover Flies (Syrphid flies) and dunes, salt/freshwater marsh, all grassland Bee Flies (Bombyliidae family) ecosystems, scrub and forest-ecosystems  There are many others that visit  Lots of variability – example: short- and flowers to feed on nectar. very long-tongued species  The common fly pollinators have  Visit wide range of flowers and can developed yellow and black stripes transport pollen long distances on their abdomens, though they  Important pollinators: regional studies in are not related to bees or wasps. Europe (Ssymank 2001) showed that up to This is probably a defense 80% of the regional flora may be visited by mechanism to deter predators; flower flies. Important in local habitats. flies pretending to be stinging insects, though they cannot sting.  Very convincing mimicry of bees and wasps: black with yellow or orange; narrow waist © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Family  Adults feed on pollen and nectar, Why do flies visit flowers? larvae eat plant materials or areSyrphidae predators on other insects, most  The most important is for food : nectar and sometimes notably aphids (~ 40% of species pollen. Pollen is rich in proteins, which is required by some are predators). adult flies before they can reproduce.  Female hover fly usually lays her  To lay eggs: the larvae feed on flower heads, developing eggs near aphid colonies. The fly fruits/seeds or insect pests larvae feed on insect pests, mainly aphids, as well as scales and  Because they’ve been tricked (scent/appearance that mimics caterpillars. the carcasses where they normally lay their eggs)  Aphids cause annual damage to  To keep warm: in arctic and alpine habitats, some flowers crops and plants, making the hover attract flies by providing a warm shelter. flies important agents in natural  As rendezvous sites for mating. Large numbers of flies will biological control. congregate at a particular type of flower  Routinely used as a biological control agents in many agricultural crops like California lettuce. the byproduct of all these behaviors can be pollination © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 14
  15. 15. 1/6/2013 Showy Milkweed – Asclepias speciosa Showy Milkweed – Asclepias speciosa  Western N. America from Canada to Baja; throughout CA  Open areas at low elevations in dry to moist, loamy to sandy soil  Often in areas that are seasonally flooded or quite damp © 2004 George W. Hartwell © Project SOUND © Project SOUND,586,599 Showy Milkweed: a stout perennial Flowers are…showy!  Size:  Blooms:  2-5+ ft tall  In summer: May-Sept  Spreading by rhizomes; often  usually July-Aug in our area forms a clump  Flowers:  Growth form:  Large compared to other  Drought/winter deciduous milkweeds ; sweet scent perennial  Pale pink or purple – in  Stems stout, succulent, erect or dense, ball-like clusters nearly so  Very showy in bloom – among  Foliage: our prettiest perennials  Leaves large 96-8 inches long),  Seeds: gray-green, velvety  Relatively large, with silky  Milky sap typical of Milkweeds parachute (typical of  Larval food, Monarch Butterflies milkweeds)  Roots: stout taproot; don’t move once  Seed pods are 3-5" long and© 2005, Ben Legler established. are either spiny or smooth. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND © 2005, Ben Legler 15