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a suborder of primitive Diptera (an order of insects).
In the majority of Nematocera the body and legs are long and thin. The principal feeding stage is the larval one. Regardless of the type of feeding, the maxillae (upper jaws) are of the gnawing type (except in gall midges). Nematocera live in water, damp soil, plant tissue, and decaying matter. The pupae are exarate and usually do not form a puparium; a few members of the suborder, such as the Hessian fly, do form one. Adult Nematocera live in the air, but in rare instances, such as Limonia monostromia, all stages, including the adult, develop in water. They feed on the juices of plants, on nectar, and on animal and human blood, and some of them do not feed at all.
There are 35 families, embracing more than 20,000 species, which are distributed throughout the world. Nematocera are divided into a number of groups that sometimes include several families. Crane flies have larvae that live in water, moist soil, and moss; some crane flies damage plants. The larvae of most fungus flies live in fungi. Gall midges have larvae that feed on plant tissue, causing swellings (galls), and on the mycelium of fungi; some gall midges are predators and parasites, and a number of species (the Hessian fly, wheat and millet midges) are dangerous pests of cereals. Sand flies are active bloodsuckers and are carriers of sand fly fever and leishmaniasis. Bloodsucking Nematocera are one of the groups of bloodsucking flies; they are carriers of a number of diseases, such as malaria (Anopheles mosquito). Phantom gnats, which are closely related to bloodsucking Nematocera, do not suck blood; their larvae are predacious and live in water. The larvae of most nonbiting midges are aquatic and serve as food for fish. The females in biting midges of the genera Culicoides, Leptoconops, and Lasiohelea suck the blood of humans and animals. Biting midges constitute an important group of bloodsucking flies; their larvae live in water, damp soil, and other damp places. Biting midges transmit a number of animal diseases, such as Japanese encephalitis. The females of blackflies suck the blood of warm-blooded animals. Blackflies transmit onchocerciasis of cattle and piroplasmidoses of birds. They develop in running water, and the larvae and pupae serve as food for fish. Nematocera of the families Blepharoceridae (about 150 species) and Deuterophlebiidae (five species) are found in the mountains and along the banks of rivers and streams; their larvae develop on stones in swift-running water and have special suckers with which they attach themselves to the substrate.
REFERENCESMonchadskii, A. S. “Dvukrylye (Diptera).” In Zhizn’ presnykh vod SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Opredelitel’ nasekomykh Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR, vol. 5, part 1. Leningrad, 1969.
Zhizn’zhivotnykh. vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.
Fauna SSSR: Nasekomye dvukrylye, vol. 3, issue 4. Leningrad, 1970. (New series, no. 100.)
A. S. MONCHADSKII