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Genus Overview
There are at least 72 genera with 464 species of shore and brine flies occurring in North America. Usually they live in lentic-littoral habitats among vascular hydrophytes or floating algal mats, but they are also found on marine shores or on lotic margins, sometimes in puddles, and sometimes in extreme habitats such as thermal springs, high salinity lakes, or pools of crude or waste petroleum. Typically they are burrowers or sprawlers, but sometimes climbers or planktonic. They feed as collectors-gatherers (often of dung or decomposing snails or other carrion), leaf-mining shredders-herbivores, scrapers, or engulfing predators.
Characteristics
POLLUTION TOLERANCE
0 = least tolerant, 10 = most tolerant
FEEDING HABITS
Collector / Gatherer
Engulfer / Predator
Scraper / Grazer
Shredder / Herbivore
MOVEMENT
Burrower
Sprawler
DISTRIBUTION
Widespread (east of the Rocky Mtns.)
HABITAT
Lentic-littoral
Diagnostic Characters
+ Expanded Character List
Order: Wings and wing pads absent. Eye spots sometimes visible, but compound eyes absent. Segmented legs absent, but sometimes fleshy prolegs present. Sometimes with distinct head, often without head or with head drawn deeply into thorax. Body flattened, cylindrical, or maggot-like.
Family: Not defined.
Genus: External sclerotized portions of head absent, leaving only internal skeleton. Integument of posterior abdominal segments covered with setae or spinules or seta-bearing tubercles on some segments. Anal division somewhat tapered, usually ending in one or two elongate retractile respiratory tubes lacking dorsal tubercles, with spiracular plates distinctly separated.