David López-Peña
British Wildlife 35.3 December 2023

Blackflies of Britain: their biology and impacts on people and animals

Seen as a nuisance by some, blackflies are known for their painful bite and as carriers of disease, but here David López-Peña and Robert A. Cheke provide an introduction to the important role that these insects play in aquatic ecosystems.

Blackflies, known also as simuliids, are among the most harmful blood-consuming biting insects in the world. In the 35 species native to Britain (Adler 2022), the eggs, larvae and pupae develop in rivers, streams and rivulets, playing significant roles in the ecosystem. Through excretion of their faecal balls, the larvae also make available to other benthic organisms particles that otherwise would be lost with the current, and are thus of key importance for the re-circulation of nutrients in river communities.

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