Born a thief: flower fly larvae steal sundews' prey
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Although little is known about the biology of Toxomerus basalis, a species of flower fly (Syrphidae), a recent discovery helped to elucidate it's habits at the larval stage. Larvae of T. basalis were found feeding on prey captured by the traps of some sundews (Drosera spp.), a genus of carnivorous plants which catch its prey by secreting a sticky substance called mucilage. As the larvae have been observed to move freely through the sticky traps, they are thought to have adaptations which prevent them from becoming trapped and also from being affected by the digestive enzymes of the sundews.
This constitutes a kleptoparasitic interaction: when individuals of one species steal food itens gathered from individuals of other species. Although difficult to quantify, this interaction may affect negatively the sundews, diminishing their reproductive potential or even killing individuals.
On the other side, since it is thought that the kleptoparasitic interaction is obligatory for T. basalis, and because syrphid larvae are known to have low dispersal capacity, then the choice of oviposition location by females is very important. Although T. basalis females have not been observed during oviposition, it is thought that they land directly on the sundews to deposit their eggs, making them vulnerable to getting stuck on the sticky traps.
Build a mathematical model that incorporates the effects of the kleptoparasitism by the larvae and the carnivory of adult flies by the sundews.
Further well-grounded questions from the group are welcome.
Fleischmann, A., Rivadavia, F., Gonella, P. M., Pérez-Bañón, C., Mengual, X., & Rojo, S. (2016). Where is my food? Brazilian flower fly steals prey from carnivorous sundews in a newly discovered plant-animal interaction. PloS one, 11(5), e0153900. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0153900