Raydastepha Dimanche: Diptera
Location of Collection: 33°58'50 N, 84°00'20 W
Date of Collection: 09/05-07/2017
Shannon-Wiener Index of Biodiversity: H' = 3.85327
Rank of abundance: 2
Collectors: Kaylyn Flores, Rhea Bowen-Smith, Raydastepha Dimanche, Amy Figueroa
Distinguishing morphological features of Family:
Ecological importance: They serve as the vector of onchocerciasis, a disease caused by a roundworm that sometimes also causes blindness. Larvae are also hosts to a variety of nematodes, including Mermithidae, and the chytrid fungus. Throughout Africa, many larvae have a phoretic relationship with small crabs. Parasitic larva of the family Mermithidae pierces the fly's body and coil inside the abdomen of the host. These worms can be seen in the fly's body under the microscope and have a looped appearance.
Economic importance: Although black flies are pests to most species, they perform a few tasks that benefit the environment. These organisms play a key function in recycling of organisms in the water because of the filtering system that the larvae use. The detritus is reprocessed, not to mention the added benefit of cleaning the water source. The presence of Simulium venustum indicates a clean water supply, due to their sensitivity to chemicals in the water.