Morphology and function of the proboscis in Bombyliidae (Diptera, Brachycera) and implications for proboscis evolution in Brachycera
Based on serial semithin sections and SEM photographs of representatives of European Bombyliinae and Anthracinae, the mouthparts of Bombyliidae are studied and compared with the relevant data from literature on other families of Diptera Brachycera. The three moving units of the proboscis (clypeo-cibarial region, haustellum-maxillary base region, and labella) and their structures and muscles are described. Functions and possible movements are inferred from the structures observed. Articulations both between the parts of the organ and to the head capsule enable the fly to retract its proboscis into a resting position. Proboscis movement from a resting to a feeding position encompasses the following submovements: rotating of the basal clypeo-cibarial region (= fulcrum) against the head capsule, folding of the haustellum-maxillary base region against the fulcrum, evagination and invagination of the labial base, and the labella movements. This is a novelty as compared to the rigid proboscis of Tabanidae and agrees largely with the conditions in the Cyclorrhapha. The evolution of these novelties and their functional significance are discussed. The fulcrum, as well as the haustellum-maxillary base, as the new moving units are deduced from the plesiomorphic state as present in Tabanidae by fusions of sclerites, shifts of musculature and formation of new articulations.
KeywordsFunctional Significance Base Region Head Capsule Feeding Position Semithin Section
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