British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Rhyphidae, Phryneidae, Sylvicolidae.

Gnat-like flies.

Adult insects. Small to medium-sized; slender-bodied to robustly-built; stilt-legged, or not stilt-legged. Antennae 8–16 segmented; ‘simple’; not aristate. Ocelli present; 3. Eyes asymmetric, nearly or quite connected above the antennae (often, in males), or rounded, well separated. The maxillary palps 3–5 segmented; drooping. Vibrissae absent. Thorax without a continuous dorsal suture. Wing veins reaching the margin 9, or 10. Wing vein 7 falling short of the margin. Wings with a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa not extending around the entire wing. Sub-costa apparent; reaching the costa independently of vein 1. Wing vein 6 present; reaching the wing margin. Wing vein 7 present; falling short of the wing margin. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent; patterned (mottled). Tibiae spurred (apically).

Larvae and pupae. The larvae more or less aquatic, or terrestrial; saprophagous, or coprophagous, or consuming stored produce (sometimes in honeycombs, cider and wine); eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Flies sometimes dancing in swarms.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Psychodomorpha; Superfamily Anisopodoidea.

British representation. 4 species in Britain. Genera 1; Sylvicola.

Illustrations. • Sylvicola fenestralis (Domestic Gnat-like fly: B. Ent. 102). • Sylvicola fenestralis (detail: B. Ent. 102). • Sylvicola fenestralis (dissections: B. Ent. 102). • Sylvicola fenestralis (B. Ent. 102, legend+text). • Sylvicola fenestralis (B. Ent. 102, text cont.). • Sylvicola cinctus (from Walker).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. British insects: the families of Diptera. Version: 1st January 2012.’.