females of many species feed on blood. Mosquitoes pierce the
skin and suck the blood of their host with needle-like jaws,
while others such as the horse-flies cut the skin with
knife-like mouth parts, then mop up the blood. Large numbers
of flies can debilitate their host, but perhaps worse is the
spread of diseases such as malaria.
larvae of the different species of Diptera are extremely
variable in form and habit. The stereotype are the pale,
wriggling, flesh eating maggots of blow-flies, but there are
others. Many are aquatic such as the larvae of the mosquito
and the 'rat-tailed maggots' of some of the hoverflies,
while others live within plants, or are parasites within the
bodies of other insects, molluscs and even mammals.
larvae of Diptera do not have legs, but may have other
appendages to help in mobility. Many also have biting jaws.
go through a pupal stage. The pupae may be similar to the
familiar static pupae of the lepidoptera, or highly mobile
as are the pupae of the mosquitoes.
Diptera are of great importance to humans as economic pests,
human parasites and vectors of disease. Despite this a large
amount of their influence on man is positive as they are an
effective biological control of other insect species,
important plant pollinators and act as a massive waste
disposal team clearing away corpses and rotting vegetation.