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Review

The Role of Flies as Pollinators of Horticultural Crops: An Australian Case Study with Worldwide Relevance

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Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, 3 Baron-Hay Court, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia
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School of Biological Sciences, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
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Plants Animals and Interactions, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
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School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Madgewick Drive, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
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SeedPurity Pty Ltd., 2 Derwent Avenue, Margate, Tasmania 7054, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(6), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11060341
Received: 21 April 2020 / Revised: 25 May 2020 / Accepted: 27 May 2020 / Published: 2 June 2020
Australian horticulture relies heavily on the introduced managed honey bee, Apis mellifera Linnaeus 1758 (Hymenoptera: Apidae), to pollinate crops. Given the risks associated with reliance upon a single species, it would be prudent to identify other taxa that could be managed to provide crop pollination services. We reviewed the literature relating to the distribution, efficiency and management potential of a number of flies (Diptera) known to visit pollinator-dependent crops in Australia and worldwide. Applying this information, we identified the taxa most suitable to play a greater role as managed pollinators in Australian crops. Of the taxa reviewed, flower visitation by representatives from the dipteran families Calliphoridae, Rhiniidae and Syrphidae was frequently reported in the literature. While data available are limited, there was clear evidence of pollination by these flies in a range of crops. A review of fly morphology, foraging behaviour and physiology revealed considerable potential for their development as managed pollinators, either alone or to augment honey bee services. Considering existing pollination evidence, along with the distribution, morphology, behaviour and life history traits of introduced and endemic species, 11 calliphorid, two rhiniid and seven syrphid species were identified as candidates with high potential for use in Australian managed pollination services. Research directions for the comprehensive assessment of the pollination abilities of the identified taxa to facilitate their development as a pollination service are described. This triage approach to identifying species with high potential to become significant managed pollinators at local or regional levels is clearly widely applicable to other countries and taxa. View Full-Text
Keywords: pollination; Diptera; Syrphidae; Rhiniidae; fly; flower visitation; horticulture; foraging; managed pollinators; life history pollination; Diptera; Syrphidae; Rhiniidae; fly; flower visitation; horticulture; foraging; managed pollinators; life history
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cook, D.F.; Voss, S.C.; Finch, J.T.D.; Rader, R.C.; Cook, J.M.; Spurr, C.J. The Role of Flies as Pollinators of Horticultural Crops: An Australian Case Study with Worldwide Relevance. Insects 2020, 11, 341. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11060341

AMA Style

Cook DF, Voss SC, Finch JTD, Rader RC, Cook JM, Spurr CJ. The Role of Flies as Pollinators of Horticultural Crops: An Australian Case Study with Worldwide Relevance. Insects. 2020; 11(6):341. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11060341

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cook, David F., Sasha C. Voss, Jonathan T.D. Finch, Romina C. Rader, James M. Cook, and Cameron J. Spurr. 2020. "The Role of Flies as Pollinators of Horticultural Crops: An Australian Case Study with Worldwide Relevance" Insects 11, no. 6: 341. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11060341

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