British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adult insects. Very small to small; slender-bodied; stilt-legged. Antennae 8–24 segmented; ‘simple’ (long, with bead-like segments, often with whorls of hairs). Ocelli present, or absent. Eyes asymmetric, nearly or quite connected above the antennae. The maxillary palps (1–)3–5 segmented; drooping. Wing veins reaching the margin (2–)3, or 4(–6). Wings without a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa extending around the entire wing. Sub-costa absent or only dubiously identifiable. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae terrestrial; phytophagous, or saprophagous, or predatory (on other insects, mostly plant bugs and immature stages of other Diptera, also mites); when phytophagous,very often forming galls (the forms of galls usually characteristic of the species), or not gall-forming; eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Small to minute, delicate flies with broad and often hairy wings having greatly reduced venation, and sometimes a very short first tarsal segment. Including many gall-forming species. Females often with a very long ovipositor.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Bibionomorpha; Superfamily Sciaroidea.

British representation. 620 species in Britain. Genera about 140; with numerous species in Contarinia, Dasineura, Jaapiella, Lestodiplosis, Planetella, Rabdophaga, etc.

Illustrations. • Lestremia cinerea and L. leucophaea (Walker). • Anarete, Catocha, and Micromya (Walker). • Asphondylia, Asynapta, Cecidomyia, Rhabdophaga (Walker). • Planetella, Porricondyla (Walker). • Brachyneuria, Lasioptera (Walker). • Contarina verna (Curtis): Vernal Crane-fly (as Cecidomyia verna): B. Ent. 178. • Contarina verna (detail: B. Ent. 178). • Contarina verna (dissections: B. Ent. 178). • Contarina verna (B. Ent. 178, legend+text). • Contarina verna (B. Ent. 178, text cont.). • Lasioptera rubi: as Diomyza pulchra(?), Stephens 1846.

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.’.