World Diptera Day – 15 November

Today we are celebrating the World Diptera Day! Despite the fact that the Green Balkans activities regarding insects are not as large-scale as our programs for birds, cetaceans and bats, we’d still like to increase the public awareness of insects and their importance, particularly those, belonging to the Diptera order.

A few years back, a team of Polish scientists established the World Diptera Day - 15 November, since then different European countries have joined in.

What types of insects belong to the Diptera order? We call them Diptera as they have 2 pairs of wings (4 in all), but unlike other insects, the second pair is quite small (they are called halters) and are not very easy to spot. They serve as a kind of steering wheel. Flies and mosquitoes belong to this group, each of them with their own specificities and morphological differences. This might seem a bit odd for the horse-fly or the mosquitoes that always manage to find you, even on an unusually warm November day.. but we have to keep in mind that each and every creature has its own specialized place in nature and without it unsuspected cataclysms might take place.

So, let us give you a few interesting examples :)
Along with bees, some flies and even mosquitoes are among nature's best pollinators. One particular species is responsible for chocolate, as without it there will be none, and even this important creature is under threat. These intriguing little creatures belong to the Ceratopogonidae family and pollinate the cacao tree, they prefer wetlands, which can be a problem for us, since with the industrialization of the chocolate production, the cacao plantations have been moved to uncharacteristic places, where the small fly, or more accurately said, the small mosquito (since it belongs to the latter group) does not live.

Some species’ larvae are quite the sight – the beautiful and intriguing luminous larvae of the cave mosquitoes in New Zealand for example. Thousands of people visit the caves each year to see these intriguing predators, luring their prey with their beautiful light. The so called ‘glow worms’ occupy the caves’ ceiling and move around along their thin webs. Unfortunately for us, their European cousins do not have the ability to glow, although they use the same webs to catch their prey.
Diptera species – flies and mosquitoes are not only extremely important pollinators, some of them can also break down dead wood or organic matter, others are parasites or predators, there are some that feed with fungi or are complete vegetarians – their diversity is why they are so important for all ecosystems.
Some species are under law protection in Europe. For example, a particular mosquito (a not-blood-sucking species) in Poland is included in the Red Book of Protected Species. In Bulgaria, there still are not any such laws yet, mostly because these species are yet to be thoroughly researched. Still, more researches are being made within the European Natura 2000 ecological network, adding to our knowledge of the Diptera family and of the species within the network.
Check out how the Green Balkans team celebrated the World Diptera Day last year at the Regional Natural History Museum – Plovdiv.
Aneliya Pavlova – Green Balkans – mob.number +359899269576, email: apavlova@greenbalkans.org

Green Balkans
Hobby Tv
Natura 2000