Submitted to: Quarterly Review of Biology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2007
Publication Date: June 20, 2007
Citation: Pruett Jr, J.H. 2007. Review of "The Oestrid Flies: Biology, Host-Parasite Relationships, Impact and Management", edited by Colwell, D.D., Hall, M.J.R., Scholl, P.J. 2006 CABI Publishing. The Quarterly Review of Biology. 82(2):154. Technical Abstract: The Oestrid flies are a diverse group of parasitic insects whose larval forms are adapted for a parasitic life-style. Their armament of spines and mouth hooks, enables their migration within host tissues and provides for beastly images as depicted on the front cover of the book and within the text. Oestrids are parasites of livestock and exotic wildlife and have been studied by a small, industrious group of investigators. This book, covering research over the past 40 years is dedicated to the memory of Paul Catts, and Jerry Weintraub, scientists that provided many significant advances in the study of Oestrids. The editors have successfully assembled a group of knowledgeable colleagues to address advances regarding the systematics, biology, host-parasite relationships, and history of this insect family. Opening with an excellent introduction and a chapter on the historical perspective on the importance and impact of Oestrids are two excellent chapters on the taxonomy and systematics of this family. Subsequent chapters contrast the biological diversity within the family relative to life cycle strategies, and morphological differences between life-stages. Four authors with knowledge of the Hypodermatinae, Cuterebrinae, Gasterophilinae, and Oestrinae authored the larvae-host parasite relationship chapter. A chapter follows on Oestrid myiasis of humans. The final section of the book contains a chapter on management and control of these flies followed by a compendium on the biology, hosts, distribution, disease significance and management of individual genera. The book was designed for curious readers, workers in the field, and to encourage further study. This text should find utility in all of these areas as well as an excellent reference source. The larval-host relationships chapter while written as an extensive review of the literature could have been strengthened by presenting the information as a parasitological narrative of those adaptations that are associated with the parasitic life-style, and the role of herd/host immunity in regulating the parasite population, as was done in the Oestrinae subsection. Detailed summary statements regarding known immunobiological information would have informed the reader of important gaps in the host-parasite knowledge base. The final chapter, as a compendium, was apparently intended to stand-alone as some of the information was previously presented in the preceding chapters. Oestrids are a fascinating group of insects and much about their biology remains unknown. Prospects of additional studies of their biology, biochemistry, and elicited host immunological responses may be confined by the superb efficacy of the avermectins, as described and recommended in the text for the chemical control of these pests of livestock.