Calliphorid blowflies perform an essential ecosystem service in the consumption, recycling and dispersion of carrion nutrients and are considered amongst the most important functional groups in an ecosystem. Some species are of economic importance as facultative agents of livestock myiasis. The interspecific ecological differences that facilitate coexistence within the blowfly community are not fully understood. The aim of this work was to quantify differences in habitat use by calliphorid species. Thirty traps were distributed among three habitats at two sites in southwest England for collections made during March–August 2016. A total of 17 246 specimens were caught, of which 2427 were Lucilia sericata, 51 Lucilia richardsi, 6580 Lucilia caesar, 307 Lucilia ampullacea, 4881 Calliphora vicina and 2959 Calliphora vomitoria (all: Diptera: Calliphoridae). Lucilia sericata was the dominant species in open habitats, whereas L. caesar was the most abundant species in shaded habitats. Calliphora specimens were more abundant in the cooler months. These findings suggest that Calliphora and Lucilia species show strong temporal segregation mediated by temperature, and that species of the genus Lucilia show differences in the use of habitats that are likely to be driven by differences in humidity tolerance and light intensity. These factors in combination result in effective niche partitioning.
Supervisor: Morgan, E. (Supervisor) & Wall, R. (Supervisor)
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)