Published Aug 4, 2021


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Ronaldo Figueiró

Anderson Calvet

Leonardo Henrique Gil-Azevedo

Ricardo Ferreira Monteiro

Marilza Maia-Herzog



Black fly larvae (Diptera: Simuliidae) are suspension filter-feeders which strongly depend on water velocity for proper feeding. Black fly species feature different microhabitat preferences. Studies of Holarctic black fly larvae revealed their phenotypic plasticity in response to water current velocity variation, but such studies have been rarely undertaken with Neotropical black flies. The current work presents results on the phenotypic plasticity of the black fly species Simulium nigrimanum Macquart. Twelve last instar larvae, sampled from the Brazilian Cerrado, were photographed under a stereoscopic microscope and measured using the CMEIAS Image tool software. Linear regressions with water velocity as the independent variable were performed, indicating that while body size and anal disk diameter correlated positively with water velocity, labral fan length correlated negatively. The observed relationships between water velocity and labral fan length and anal disk diameter were consistent with the literature, while the pattern of body size variation partially corroborated previous studies. The present work results suggest that potential phenotypic plasticity can be observed in black fly larvae within one population distributed in different microhabitats of the same stream section, as opposed to
previous reports implying that such variation is only found among population from different streams.


black fly, labral fans, anal disk, water current

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How to Cite
Figueiró, R., Calvet, A., Gil-Azevedo, L. H., Monteiro, R. F., & Maia-Herzog, M. (2021). Potential phenotypic plasticity within Simulium nigrimanum Macquart, 1838 (Diptera: Simuliidae) larvae. Universitas Scientiarum, 26(2), 217–227.

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