Revealing the fauna of the housefly parasitoids in Israel and factors affecting their distribution

Filth flies (Diptera: Muscidae), and especially the housefly, Musca domestica, are global pests of animal agriculture, causing major annoyance, damaging productivity and carrying numerous animal and human pathogens.

Pupal parasitoids are ubiquitous natural enemies of these flies, and several species are commercially produced for augmentative releases. However, very little is known about the diversity and abundance of these parasitoids in Israel because only one survey was done in a small area during the 1980's.

In this proposal two objectives will be addressed: 1) Determine the species diversity and relative abundance of housefly parasitoids in different climatic regions in Israel, and 2) Identify factors affecting local diversity and abundance of parasitoids.

The survey will include 18 locations representing different fly-breeding habitats in 6 different geographical areas all over Israel. The survey will be repeated twice –near the beginning and near the end of the "fly season". Parasitoids' collections will be done using lab-reared housefly pupae as "baits" and their identification will be done by experts.

This will be the first comprehensive survey in Israel and it is expected to reveal the

array of parasitoids present and elucidate ecological factors affecting their distribution and abundance.