What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Fergusoninidae

Overview

The family, established by Hennig (1958), includes only the interesting genus Fergusonina . Species associated with Melaleuca have been revised recently (Taylor 2004). The family is closely related to Agromyzidae, and it is remarkable that the latter family does not use Myrtaceae as a host (S. Scheffer, pers. comm. 2004). Almost 30 species have been described, many more undescribed species exist, and coevolution has probably occurred between these flies and their host plants (Scheffer et al. 2004).

Larvae live in leaf, bud and stem galls on myrtaceous plants (particularly Eucalyptus ) in a remarkable association with nematodes of the genus Fergusobia (Giblin-Davis et al. 2001, 2003, 2004; Davies et al. 2004). As the galling may prevent flower production and setting of seed, some species are of importance to the honey and timber industries. Some species have been studied because of their ability to effect biological control of Melaleuca in Florida, U.S.A. (Goolsby et al. 2000).

Description

Adults are small, with black and yellow markings. The face of fergusoninid flies is remarkable because the antennae are short and lie in deep pits in the face level with the lower margin of the eye. Larvae have a unique sclerotised dorsal shield between abdominal segments 1 and 2.

Distribution

Though mainly Australian, the family also occurs also in India and New Britain.

  • Fergusoninidae

  • Fergusoninidae larvae

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