Blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) and flesh flies (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) are potential vectors of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) in New Zealand. The associations between habitat and weather factors on the abundance of these flies were investigated. Between October 1999 and June 2001, flies were trapped on open pasture and in dense vegetation patches on farmland in the Himatangi area of the North Island. Five calliphorid species were trapped commonly at scrub edges and the most abundant sarcophagid, Oxysarcodexia varia Walker, was trapped mainly on open pasture. An abundance peak of O. varia was probably associated with the occurrence of a rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) outbreak in the study area. Overall abundance of flies varied according to habitat and species, and species numbers differed between seasons and years. The all-day minimum temperature 3 weeks before trapping was a significant variable in all models of fly abundance, whereas average rainfall did not affect fly abundance. The all-day temperature range was significant only for O. varia. The influence of other climatic factors varied between fly species. Climate dependent variations in fly abundance may contribute to the risk of transmission of RHD, which occurred intermittently on the site during the study period.
- Fly abundance
- New zealand
- Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus