Hoverfly locomotor activity is resilient to external influence and intrinsic factors

Malin Thyselius, Karin Nordstrom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Hoverflies are found across the globe, with approximately 6000 species described worldwide. Many hoverflies are being used in agriculture and some are emerging as model species for laboratory experiments. As such it is valuable to know more about their activity. Like many other dipteran flies, Eristalis hoverflies have been suggested to be strongly diurnal, but this is based on qualitative visualization by human observers. To quantify how hoverfly activity depends on internal and external factors, we here utilize a locomotor activity monitoring system. We show that Eristalis hoverflies are active during the entire light period when exposed to a 12 h light:12 h dark cycle, with a lower activity if exposed to light during the night. We show that the hoverflies’ locomotor activity is stable over their lifetime and that it does not depend on the diet provided. Surprisingly, we find no difference in activity between males and females, but the activity is significantly affected by the sex of an accompanying conspecific. Finally, we show that female hoverflies are more resilient to starvation than males. In summary, Eristalis hoverflies are resilient to a range of internal and external factors, supporting their use in long-term laboratory experiments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45-54
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A-Neuroethology Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


    • Age
    • Circadian rhythm
    • Diet
    • Sexual dimorphism
    • Starvation


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