The Natural History of Hoverflies
Hoverflies are valuable insects known and recognised not just for their striking colours, remarkable hovering behaviour and flower visiting habits but also because of their ecological, environmental, and economic roles
Their roles centre on their ability to pollinate plants in both natural and agricultural systems and their predatory larvae which attack sap-sucking pests like greenfly and scale insects. Some larvae are plant feeders are thus potential agents of weed control whilst others are recyclers in a wide range of terrestrial habitats, Environmentally, hoverflies are of importance because in many habitats, they consist of groups with varying levels of specialism and/or endemic species and hence can act as indicators and monitors of climate change and habitat or site quality. Some hoverflies are of conservation significance because they are endangered by human activities and require action to ensure their survival. As such, they can act as proxy for whole communities and functional groups so that by conserving them, much other wildlife is also conserved.
Hoverfly research has undergone a renaissance over the past 20 years which is due to a better realisation and understanding of these ecological, environmental and economic roles and services, vastly improved understanding of basic species taxonomy particularly in Europe, and application of new techniques for investigating hoverflies, such as assessing their evolutionary relationships using phylogenetics and DNA sequencing.
333 pages, with some b&w illustrations and 35 colour plates
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