Diptera (Flies)

Unlike the other insects, I had to learn about the Diptera taxonomy to understand what I was reading. Flies are divided into two suborders, 1) Nematocera, which are the lower order flies, and 2) Brachycera, which are the higher order flies and also the short-horned flies. The Nematocera are then divided into the aquatic families and the terrestrial families.

Diptera evolved from aquatic life histories and as some became terrestrial, their eggs remained aquatic for some portion of the egg development. Aquatic life has its benefits. Water circulates freely bringing food more easily to the aquatic larvae than those living in soil. The result is that soil dwellers take longer to develop.

Less than half of the flies in the world are known, described, and named; their larvae even less so, with an estimated 5% of them recognized.

Diptera larvae are extremely variable in their appearance. The variation is so great that there is no one characteristic or combination of characteristics that allows a person to differentiate them from other larvae experiencing the same type of metamorphosis. The one common character fly larvae have is the absence of jointed thoracic legs. Often if one finds a slender larvae moving in one direction, it could be in a Diptera.

Habitat is another highly variable element of Diptera larvae. There are aquatic ones living where water is present, regardless of whether it is fresh water or polluted. Terrestrial larvae can be found in living plants, galls, or decaying plant and animal matter. Some larvae are parasitic; some are predaceous.

Flies taste with their feet and smell with their antennae. When they land on plants, they are looking for the honeydew left by other insects. Their darting and dashing about is in search of this sweet liquid.

Adult flies do not have chewing mouthparts and therefore are thought of as plant partners since they rarely damage the foliage, seeds, stems, or flowers. This cannot be stated for many fly larvae. Leaf-mining is damage to the leaf that looks like abstract channels grooved in the leaf. Leaf mines are usually the work of a fly larvae, a beetle larvae, or a moth caterpillar. It’s also an easy way to identify the flies as leaf-miners are plant specific with a unique mining pattern.

 

If you haven’t spent much time studying flies and bees, some can look very similar. There are fly mimics among bees and bee mimics among flies. A couple of easy ID traits to keep in mind are:
1) flies wings are out to their side when at rest; bees are folded over their body
2) flies have one set of wings; bees have two
3) Antennae on flies are short and stubby; bees are long

Male and female flies can be distinguished by their eyes. Males have large eyes that meet in the middle while female eyes are separate.

The evolution of flies has been rather slow until the 1850s. Since then, humans have been the strongest forces exerting change on our insects. We are altering the face of earth by destroying forests, cultivating prairies, spraying insecticides, and killing game animals faster than our ancestors could. This is a rather sobering statement!

Diptera are difficult to ID so I’m feeling pretty lucky to have some of the genera known even though they are unable to ID’d down to the species level. Many of them do not have a common name. Where I have found one, I have included it, otherwise they are listed by their genus and alphabetized as such.

Pyrgota undata

Pyrgota undata

List – Updated Feb 2024

Agromyzidae (Leaf-miner flies)

Phytomyza minuscula group

 

Anisopodidae (Wood Gnats)

Sylvicola 

Sylvicola sub Anisopus

 

Anthomyiidae (Maggot flies)

Delia

Eutrichota   

Eutrichota affinis group 

Hylemya 

Pegoyma Group

 

Asilidae (Robber flies)

Atomosia puella

Efferia aestuans

Holcocephala

Laphria astur

Laphria sericea-aktis complex

Laphria thoracica

Machimus snowii         

Tipulogaster glabrata 

 

Bibionidae (March flies)

Bibio articulatus 

 

Bombyliidae (Bee flies)

Aldrichia ehrmanii

Geron calvus   

Hemipenthes sinuosa

Lepidophora lutea

Sparnopolius confusus

Systoechus

Systoechus vulgaris   

Villa

 

Calliphoridae (Blow flies)

Cochliomyia macellaria

Formia regina

Lucilia 

Phormia regina

 

Cecidomyiidae (Gall & Wood Midges)

Asphondylia monacha species group

Asphondylia ratibidae 

Asteromyia carbonifera       

 

Ceratopogonidae (Biting Midges)

Culicoides

Forcipomyia subgenus Forcipomyia

 

Chaoboridae (Phantom Midges)

Chaoborus punctipennis

Cricotopus subgenus Isocladius

 

Chironomidae (Non-biting Midges)

Chironomus decorus-like

Chironomus group Lobochironomus or Chaetolabis

Chironomus subgenus Chironomus

Cricotopus subgenus Isocladius

Paratendipes albimanus

Rheopelopia

Stenochironomus     

 

Chloropidae (Frit flies)

Thaumatomyia

 

Conopidae (Thick-headed flies)

Myopa vesiculosa 

Physocephala tibialis 

 

Culicidae (Mosquitoes & Midges)

Aedes vexans

Culex

Condostylus

 

Dolichopodidae (Longlegged flies)

Argyra

Condylostylus

Condylostylus sipho group

Gymnopternus 

 

Drosophilidae (Vinegar flies)

Drosophila

Drosophilinae

 

Empididae (Dance flies)

Empis clausa    

Rhamphomyia

Rhamphomyia longicauda

 

Ephydridae (Shore flies)

Ephydrinae 

 

Fannidae

Piezura graminicola 

 

Heleomyzidae

Amoebaleria helvola

Heleomyza

Suillia quinquepunctata   

 

Hybotidae (Hybotid Dance flies)

Platypalpus

 

Keroplatidae (Predatory Fungus Gnats)

Keroplatini (tribe)

 

Lauxaniidae

Minettia obscura species group 

Minietta lupulina 

 

Limoniidae (Limoniid Crane flies)

Erioptera chlorophylla

Gnophomyia tristissima 

Limonia annulata 

Limonia cinctipes

Limonia immatura   

 

Lonchaeidae (Lance flies)

Unknown 

 

Micropezidae (Stilt-legged flies)

Rainieria antennaepes 

Mesembrina

 

Muscidae (House Flies & Kin)

Musca autumnalis

Musca domestica

Stomoxys calcitrans

 

Mycetophilidae (Fungus Gnats)

Sciophilinae family   

 

Oestridae (Bot flies)

Cuterebra abdominalis   

Cuterebra fontinella 

 

Pediciidae (Hairy-eyed Crane flies)

Pedicia inconstans   

 

Phoridae (Scuttle flies)

Unknown

 

Platypezidae (Flat-footed flies)

Unknown

 

Platystomadidae (Signal flies)

Rivellia     

Rivellia colei and quadrifasciata 

 

Pollenidae (Cluster flies)

Pollenia 

 

Psilidae (Rust flies)

Loxocera cylindrica

 

Psychodidae (Moth & Sand flies)

Psychoda

Setomima nitida

 

Pyrgotidae

Pyrgota undata

Sphecomyiella valida

 

Rhagionidae (Snipe flies)

Rhagio hirtus   

Chrysopilus ornatus

Chrysopilus thoracicus

Rhagio mystaceus

 

Sarcophagidae (Satellite flies)

Metopia 

Sarcophaginae 

Wohlfahrtia vigil 

 

Scathophagidae (Dung flies)

Scathophaga furcata 

Scathophaga stercoraria

 

Scenopinidae (Window flies)

Scenopinus 

 

Sciaridae (Dark-winged Fungus Gnats)

Unknown 

 

Sciomyzidae (Snail-killing flies)

Euthycera arcuata 

 

Sepsidae (Black Scavenger flies)

Sepsis 

 

Simuliidae (Black flies)

Simulium 

 

Sphaeroceridae (Lesser Dung flies)

Limosininae (subfamily) 

 

Stratiomyidae (Soldier flies)

Ptecticus trivittatus 

Sargus elegans 

Stratiomyini tribe larva 

 

Syrphidae (Flower flies)

Allograpta obliqua

Chalcosyrphus nemorum

Chrysotoxum

Eristalinus aeneus   

Eristalis arbustorum

Eristalis tenax 

Eristalis transversa 

Eupeodes americanus

Helophilus fasciatus     

Microdon

Platycheirus   

Rhingia nasica 

Sphaerophoria contigua

Spilomyia sayi  

Syritta pipiens 

Syrphus knabi 

Toxomerus geminatus 

Toxomerus marginatus 

Toxomerus politus

Xanthogramma flavipes 

 

Tabanidae (Horse & Deer flies)

Chrysops

Chrysops niger 

Hybomitra aurilimba   

Hybomitra lasiophthalma 

Tabanus

Tabanus atratus 

Tabanus marginalis 

Tabanus reinwardtii   

Tabanus sackeni

Tabanus similis 

Tabanus sublongus   

Tabanus trimaculatus 

 

Tachinidae (Parasitic flies)

Actia interrupta

Admontia degeerioides

Archytas

Archytas analis complex

Blondeliini tribe 

Calolydella lathami 

Cholomyia inaequipes 

Copecrypta ruficauda

Cryptomeigenia   

Cryptomeigenia illinoiensis

Dexiini (tribe) 

Dinera grisescens

Epalpus 

Exoristinae

Gymnoclytia

Lydina  

Ormia brevicornis

Paradidyma singularis

Periscepsia laevigata 

Phyllophilopsis

Ptilodexia   

Siphonini (tribe) 

Trichopoda

Trichopoda pennipes

Winthemia 

Zelia

Zelia vertebrata

 

Tephritidae (Fruit flies)

Euaresta bella       

Euaresta festiva

Eurosta solidaginis

Rhagoletis cingulata

Rhagoletis suavis   

 

Tipulidae (Large Crane flies)

Dolichopeza walleyi 

Eriopterini tribe

Nephrotoma alterna   

Nephrotoma ferruginea 

Nephrotoma 

Tipula abdominalis

Tipula bicornis

Tipula fuliginosa

Tipula hirsuta  

Tipula subgenus Yamatotipula 

 

Ulidiidae (Picture winged flies)

Callopistromyia strigula

Chaetopsis 

Pseudotephritis     

 

Xylomidae

Xylomya pallidifemur

Xylomya tenthredinoides 

 

Xylophagidae

Rachicerus obscuripennis