British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Excluding Scatopsidae.


Adult insects. Small; slender-bodied to robustly-built; hairy bodied; not stilt-legged. Antennae short, 8–16 segmented (the segments stout and closely set); short and stout; ‘simple’ (usually shorter than the thorax); 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. Wing veins reaching the margin 5–8 (? -fewer than 9). Wings without a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa extending around the entire wing, or not extending around the entire wing. Sub-costa apparent; terminating blind. The leading edge veins markedly stronger than the rest. Wing vein 7 present; falling short of the wing margin. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent. Tibiae spurred (front tibiae with apical large, strong spurs or circlets of spines). Feet with a triple pad beneath the tarsal claws, or without a triple pad (?). Neither parasitic nor predatory (pollinators).

Larvae and pupae. The larvae terrestrial; phytophagous, or saprophagous (in decaying vegetation, in soil); eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Usually dark, hairy flies, “of rather grotesque appearance”.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Bibionomorpha; Superfamily Bibionoidea.

British representation. 20 species in Britain. Genera 2; Bibio, Dilophus.

Illustrations. • Bibio venosus (Veined Crane-fly: B. Ent. 138). • Bibio venosus (detail: B. Ent. 138). • Bibio venosus (dissections: B. Ent. 138). • Bibio venosus (B. Ent. 138, legend+text). • Bibio venosus (B. Ent. 138, text cont.). • Dilophus febrilis (from Walker). • Bibio marci (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.’.