New Paper in Insects


Nectar Uptake of a Long-Proboscid Prosoeca Fly (Nemestrinidae)—Proboscis Morphology and Flower Shape

Krenn HWKarolyi F, Lampert P, Melin A, Colville JF. 2021
Insects. 2021; 12(4):371. Published online 20 April 2021


Several Prosoeca (Nemestinidae) species use a greatly elongated proboscis to drink nectar from long-tubed flowers. We studied morphological adaptations for nectar uptake of Prosoecamarinusi that were endemic to the Northern Cape of South Africa. Our study site was a small isolated area of semi-natural habitat, where the long-tubed flowers of Babiana vanzijliae (Iridaceae) were the only nectar source of P. marinusi, and these flies were the only insects with matching proboscis. On average, the proboscis measured 32.63 ± 2.93 mm in length and less than 0.5 mm in diameter. The short labella at the tip are equipped with pseudotracheae that open at the apical margin, indicating that nectar is extracted out of the floral tube with closed labella. To quantify the available nectar resources, measurements of the nectar volume were taken before the flies were active and after observed flower visits. On average, an individual fly took up approximately 1 µL of nectar per flower visit. The measured nectar quantities and the flower geometry allowed estimations of the nectar heights and predictions of necessary proboscis lengths to access nectar in a range of flower tube lengths.

© Florian Karolyi