Ecological Analysis of the Presence and Absence of Interommatidial Bristles in Tachinidae
Thomas, Savanna H.
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Tachinidae, a subfamily of the order Diptera, is comprised of over 8,000 documented species, and it is postulated that there are thousands more. Tachinidae flies are very influential in the environment due to their potential role as agents of biological control against agricultural pests and pollinators. One highly variable trait within the family is interommatidial bristles (lOBs), a trait which has previously received little attention. lOBs are small bristles located in-between the ommatidia of the dipteran compound eye in some species of Tachinidae. Currently the function of the lOBs remains unknown. This paper examined Tachinidae-host associates to determine if host choice had an influence on interommatidial bristles presence or absence. Body length, annual precipitation, temperature and percent sunshine were ecological variables tested in order to determine if the presence or absence of interommatidial bristles was influenced by environmental conditions. An interaction web for host assodatio~s and box plots for ecological variables were created for analysis. Results suggested that host-choice was not influential on the presence or absence of interommatidial bristles. Results also indicated that only body length, not annual precipitation, temperature or percent sunshine was correlated with the presence of interommatidial bristles.