Genera Literature Translations -

Biology Database for the family Asilidae (Hexapoda: Diptera)
by Dr. Robert Lavigne
Professor Emeritus
University of Wyoming, USA & Honorary Research Associate,
South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SA 5000 AUSTRALIA.
Email: or

Download the database (303 kb, dBase-III format by using Excel) - Last saved: February 04 2006

This asilid biology database began life in the original dBase format and subsequently evolved through dBase II into dBase V. It was then transformed into Access (MS Office 2000) and subsequently upgraded to 2002. It can be downloaded and imported into dBase IV & V, into Excel'97 and into Access (MS Office 2002). The database currently contains 3319 records, derived from searching the asilid literature over the past 40 years. The paucity of biological data is emphasized by the limited number of records, a great majority of which are mere habitat notations. The database will be intermittently upgraded, as well as corrected, as more biological data becomes available, or missed papers become available.

The database evolved from its original 10 fields to its present number as more definitive information was published by various authors. It is now a searchable database with 24 fields as follows: GENUS, SPECIES, ORIGDESIGN, FLIGHT TIME, HABITAT, SOURCE, SOURCE2, LOCALE, RESTING, FORAGING, FEEDING, CANNIBAL, COURTSHIP, MATING, TERRITORY, OVIPOSIT, MIMICRY, ENEMIES, EGGS, LARVAE, PUPAE, REMARKS, PREDATOR-PREY RATIO & KEYWORD.

Thus, 1/ GENUS and SPECIES refers to the species of asilid for which biological information is available; 2/ ORIGDESIGN refers to the fact that there has been changes in zoological nomenclature (the author thanks Fritz Geller-Grimm for preparing the Species and Genera databases without which this listing would not be possible); 3/ FLIGHT TIME refers to any listing of adult flight periods and is only included as a supplement to other data; 4/ HABITAT refers to any notation as to the local environment in which a species occurs; 5/ SOURCE refers to the original publication; 6/ SOURCE2 contains secondary sources for the same or related information which has been published in subsequent papers; 7/ LOCALE refers to the country, and state or province, if known, in which individual records were obtained; 8/ RESTING refers to position taken by individual asilids in a particular site; 9/ FORAGING incorporates information on foraging behavior of the species; 10/ FEEDING is used in a general sense (more specific data on prey taken can be obtained from the predator-prey database) 11/ CANNIBALISM is included since there have been many cases of males and/or females feeding on members of their own species; 12/ COURTSHIP provides limited details for those species in which courtship has been noted [More complete information can be found in Lavigne, R.J. (2003): Evolution of courtship behaviour among the Asilidae (Diptera), with a review of courtship and mating. - Studia dipterologica 9(2)(2002): 703-742; Halle (Saale) (pdf available)]; 13/ MATING refers generally to the position taken by mated pairs and sometimes includes additional data, such as length of time in copula, etc.; 14/ TERRITORY provides data on those species that exhibit territorial behavior; 15/ OVIPOSIT provides data on oviposition behavior of females of the species; 17/ MIMICRY is subjective information derived from comments of authors when comparing individual asilid species with other organisms in the same habitat; 18/ ENEMIES refers to records of a member of an asilid species being fed upon by another organism, be it an asilid of a different species, a predator or a wasp collecting asilids for food for its larvae; 19/ EGGS includes abbreviated descriptions of eggs of asilid species, the citation providing greater details; 20/ LARVAE refers to citations in which the larva was described; 21/ PUPAE refers to citations in which the pupa was described; 22/ REMARKS covers incidental information provided by various authors which seems unusual; 23/ PREDATOR-PREY RATIO refers to the size of the asilid in relation to the size of its prey; 24/ KEYWORD is include for those person who might want to index the database.

Most literature citations can be obtained by visiting the University of Wyoming web site: at and downloading SM-36 and SM-55. You would need Acrobat Reader to read the files, but that can be downloaded free. (Lavigne, R., S. Dennis and J. A. Gowen. 1978. Asilid literature update 1956-1976 including a brief review of robber fly biology. University of Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station Science Monograph 36. 134 pp. [Revised slightly in 2000] Lavigne, R. J. 1999. Bibliography update 1977-1995 for the Asilidae (Insecta: Diptera), including short translations from Japanese and Russian. University of Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station Science Monograph 55. 91 pp.)

Complete literature citations are available in Fritz Geller-Grimm's literature database, but as of this date, June 2005, multiple publications in the same year are not yet alphabetically designated, making it difficult to determine in which publication the data appeared. This will be rectified some time this year. It is also hoped that the database will be published on a CD Rom in the future.

Tips: Once downloaded, the database can be searched for individual words by search engines, using the convention: ..word.. In Access 2002, if you right click field title and click on column width, a box appears with a "best fit" option. By clicking on the "best fit" option, all the data in the column appears.

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Contents: Dr. R. Lavigne
Layout: F. Geller-Grimm