Audrey Gilmour: Insects (Bioblitz lab 2- phylogeny and adaptations)

  1. Phylogeny

Using the OneZoom phylogenetic tree, I located Helophilus fasciatus (Narrow-headed Marsh Fly) in relation to its sister species (Helophilus hybridus and Helophilus hochstetteri) and their common ancestor(s). They are all part of the Helophilus genus of the Ersitalini tribe, a subset of the Sirphidae family of the Diptera order which falls under the clade of winged insects (derived from Insects, a group of arthropods belonging to Protostomes and therefore animals) (Schoch CL, et al., 2020).

  1. Common adaptation: tracheal breathing system

All the species we observed were insects and they share a common physiological adaptation. Insect respiration has adapted to best meet the oxygen demands associated with insects' high metabolic rates (Moerbitz & Hetz, 2010). Their respiratory system is composed of tubes (tracheae) that conduct air directly from the spiracles (external vents) to their tissues (Powell, 2003).

  1. Bumblebee unique adaptation: Venom

The bumblebees’ venomous sting serves as a pain-inflicting defense mechanism. The venom, delivered through a specialized stinging apparatus is produced in structures that evolved from female accessory reproductive glands. This physiological adaptation allows bees to defend their colonies from large predators and is therefore thought to have played a role in the evolution of their eusocial behavior (communal living) (Van Vaerenbergh, 2013).

Canadian Wildlife Federation. (2020). Why Join Retrieved September 16, 2021, from

Moerbitz, C., & Hetz, S. K. (2010). Tradeoffs between metabolic rate and spiracular conductance in discontinuous gas exchange of Samia Cynthia (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae). Journal of Insect Physiology, 56(5), 536–542.

Powell, K. (2003). Bug breathing exposed. Nature.

Schoch CL, et al. (2020). Taxonomy browser (helophilus). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from

Team, O. Z. (n.d.). Onezoom Tree of life explorer, text page for Helophilus Altaicus. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from,y48,w1.4393.

Van Vaerenbergh, M. (2013). Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) and Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) Venom: Analysis and Immunological Importance of the Proteome. Ghent University. Retrieved September 16, 2021.

PhD thesis

Publicado por audreygilmour audreygilmour, 17 de septiembre de 2021


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