Economic benefits; Feeding behaviour; Habitat; Habitat selection; Diptera [WoRMS]; Ephydridae [WoRMS]; Brackish water
Information is given on the habitat distribution, larval feeding habits, and economic roles of the dipterous family Ephydridae. This family has broad ecological tolerances and is commonly encountered in such physiologically stressful habitats as oil pools, inland alkaline and saline marshes, hot springs, and cold thermal springs, and coastal salt marshes and mangrove swamps. Other ephydrid species occur in freshwater marshes, moist to xeric grasslands, muddy and sandy shores, and rocky substrates along streams and lakes. Larvae display adaptive radiation in their use of particulate food substrates, with different groups of species feeding on Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), algae, detritus, and decomposing carcasses. A few species are predators, whereas others are leaf miners. Economically, certain species are pests in greenhouses and others damage crops such as rice and sugar beets. Other species are being investigated as agents of biological control of aquatic weeds.