Microdon gluttony

I collected some Microdon larvae from Lasius like formicine colony. I noticed yesterday that these piggies had finished their mound of ant larvae.

Today I head out to collect more ant larvae.

Microdon larva

Microdon larva

Microdon is a genus of syrphid flies that are myrmecophilous as larvae, feeding on ant young. These larvae are so bizarre, they were initially described as slugs. I thought this was a bit ridiculous, but this is all until I got to see them alive for myself. There undersides especially remind me of slugs – minus the slime.

This (these are Japanese species, click the images to enlarge) is what the adults look like, quite pretty and clearly a syrphid.

Microdon larva spiracle

Microdon larva spiracle

Posterior spiracle of a Microdon larva. A reminder that Microdon are in fact Diptera.

2 responses to “Microdon gluttony

  1. Might be M.analis, a parasite of various Formicinae including Lasius.
    http://myrmecofourmis.fr/Une-larve-de-mouche-en-forme-de
    Where did you find it?

    • taroeldredge

      It’s a North American specimen so I think it’s something else. I did try and identify and got a tentative name that escapes me right now, but I’m pretty sure I used Thomsons revision.

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