This is the story about a 7-mm small fly and her wonderful connection to the reed plant Phragmites australis. Significantly, this fly is called Reed Fly, Lipara lucens. Already its name indicates her close connection to the reed.

Reed is found in many boundary habitats in our countryside. Often we find it in the littoral region of small streams and ditches. With its sweeping leaves and inflorescences it gives the landscape a characteristic appearance. 

 

 

More rarely it grows in great area-wide populations.

 

In the spring, the fresh green reed stems grow upwards - between the brown-grey reed stems of the previous year. Now, especially in the first half of June, the time of the Reed Fly has come.

 

 

When seeking a partner the virgin female sits on a leaf of the reed and produces one or two vibration strikes within 10 minutes each one lasting about 8 seconds. It has not been clarified yet how these vibrations are caused.

The male also flies to the elongated leaves of the reed. After having noticed the female´s strike vibrations, it responds by sending similar signals, .....

 

 

..... to which the female always responds immediately.

The male is thus seeking the female on foot "calling" again and again.

 

 

When both meet ....

..... the male climbs slowly on the female, .....

 

 

..... trying to find the right mating position.

Until finally they copulate.

 

 

The female lays the egg on top of the reed shoot. The newly hatched larva is feeding on the budding zone of the reed and, consequently, destroying the vegetation core of the plant. The length growing of the reed is thus stopped and results in strain, thickening and lignifications of 10-15 internodes as well as an enhanced development of the leaf sheaths.
The picture shows a young, just emerging gall. The stagnation of the length growing of the reed is clearly visible.

Within a short time a 15 mm thick and approx. 15 to 25 cm long gall grows up resembling a cigar. This is why it is often called cigar gall whereas and the reed fly is also called cigar fly.

 

 




So the picture report continues:
- The inside of the gall
- Pupation
- Nest tenant in the gall
- Parasite of the next tenant in the gall
- Oscine birds and the galls


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