Larval development of Physocephala (Diptera, Conopidae) in the bumble bee Bombus morio (Hymenoptera, Apidae)


Rev. Bras. entomol.




Larval development of Physocephala (Diptera, Conopidae) in the bumble bee Bombus morio (Hymenoptera, Apidae). In the summer of 2012, a high incidence of conopid larvae was observed in a sample of female B. morio collected in remaining fragments of semidecidual forest and Cerrado, in the municipality of Sorocaba, state of São Paulo, Brazil. The larval development of conopid flies was studied, beginning at the larval instars (LO to L3) and PUP, until the emergence of the imago under laboratory conditions and inside the host. At the first instar, or LO, the microtype larvae measured less than 1 mm in length. During the transition from L1 to L3, the larvae grew in length. At L3, the larvae doubled their length (4 mm) and then started to develop both in length and width, reaching the PUP stage with 10 mm in length and 7 mm in width. The main characteristic that differentiates L3 from the early instars is the larger body size and the beginning of posterior spiracle development. The development from PUP to puparium took less than 24h. The bees died ten days after the fly oviposition, or just before full PUP development. The early development stages (egg-LO to L1) were critical for larva survival. The pupa was visible between the intersegmental sternites and, 32 days after pupation, a female imago of Physocephala sp. emerged from one bee. The puparium and the fly measured approximately 10 mm in length. In a single day of collection, up to 45% of the bumble bees collected were parasitized by conopid flies.

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