Common Mallow Pollinated by Dagger Fly

Common Mallow (Malva neglecta) Pollinated by Dagger Fly (Empididae).

Filmed on 2015 May 12th, in Postacı Halil sokak Ferahevler, Istanbul.

When the talk subject comes to pollination the buzzing image of bees appear in our heads. Yet, many other insect groups contribute to the pollination service including flies (Diptera). Here you can see a dagger fly (it is also known as dancing fly) visiting an edible wild plant the common mallow (Malva neglecta). Dagger flies may not appear to be as specialized as those of “buzz pollinators” such as bumblebees but their tubular piercing mouth structures which have evolved to kill and feed from the inside of the prey exoskeleton can be used to extract nectar from various flower shapes. While feeding on floral nectar they may carry pollen from one flower to another. Here in this recording you can see pollen grains sticking onto the back of the thoracic region of the fly’s body.

Curiously the same fly species was recorded while mating just a few days later in the same location at a park in Istanbul. It is quite common to observe insects mating at or near their feeding locations. Males of many insects provide a nuptial gift to their female partners. It is quite plausable that the Dagger fly filmed above may have been gathering resources in preparation to mate.

 

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