Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn


  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_412-2



Family of insects, order Diptera.

General Information

Fossil blackflies are about 170 million years old. Of the approximately 1,600 blackfly species, only about 900 are man-biting species. Only female blackflies suck blood, demoralizing the host by their painful bites. Since the larvae develop only in flowing water, attacks by adults regularly occur there, and after mass attacks by adults, these can even induce panic reactions in herds of cattle. Blackflies transmit protozoan blood parasites to birds but are mainly known as vectors of filarial helminths, especially onchocerciasis (River Blindness).

Blackflies are holometabolous insects; larvae and pupae live aquatically. Adults are small, stout-bodied, humpbacked Diptera (Figs. 1, 2, 3, and 4). The best identification criteria are little drops of blood on the legs near flowing waters, accompanied by strong itching reactions. Despite the name, many neotropical species are not black but yellow or...


Blood Meal Maxillary Palp Abdominal Tergite Peritrophic Membrane Gonotrophic Cycle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Zoomorphologie, Zellbiologie und ParasitologieHeinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany