British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Gnats, Ghost-larvae, Phantom-larvae.

Adult insects. Slender-bodied; stilt-legged. Antennae 13 segmented; ‘simple’, or ‘modified’ (being plumed in males). Ocelli absent. Mouthparts functional, or non-functional; non-piercing (short, poorly developed). Mandibles present. Mandibles not in the form of long, slender, piercing stylets. The maxillary palps 3–5 segmented; drooping. Thorax without a continuous dorsal suture (i.e., without the V-shaped suture of the Tipulidae). Wing veins reaching the margin 10. Wings without a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa not extending around the entire wing. The leading edge veins not noticeably stronger than the rest. Wing vein 6 present; reaching the wing margin (?). Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae aquatic; predatory (especially on small crustaceans); eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Culicomorpha; Superfamily Culicoidea.

British representation. 6 species in Britain. Genera 2; Chaoborus, Mochlonyx.

Illustrations. • Chaoborus crystallinus and Mochlonyx velutinus (from Walker). • Chaoborus crystallinus: as Corethra plumicornis, 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.’.