British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Life style parasitic (the adult females often blood-suckers), or non-parasitic; on when bloodsucking, humans, mammals other than humans, and birds (?).

Adult insects. Very small to medium-sized; slender-bodied; stilt-legged. Antennae 13 segmented; ‘simple’; not aristate (ornately plumed in the males). Ocelli absent. Mouthparts functional (proboscis long); adapted for piercing (females), or non-piercing (males). Mandibles present. Mandibles represented by long, slender, piercing stylets (in the females of blood-sucking species), or not in the form of long, slender, piercing stylets. The maxillary palps 3–5 segmented; porrect. Vibrissae absent. Thorax without a continuous dorsal suture (i.e., without the V-shaped suture of Tipulidae). Wing veins reaching the margin 10, or 11. Wings without a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa extending around the entire wing. The leading edge veins not noticeably stronger than the rest. Wing vein 3 not forked. Wing vein 6 present; reaching the wing margin. Wing vein 7 present; reaching the wing margin, or falling short of the wing margin. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent; patterned, or unpatterned (mostly?). Parasitic (blood-sucking females), or neither parasitic nor predatory (both sexes imbibing juices of flowers and fruits).

Larvae and pupae. The larvae aquatic (and swimming very actively); saprophagous; eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Culicomorpha; Superfamily Culicoidea.

British representation. 32 species in Britain. Genera 6; Anopheles, Aedes, Coquillettidia, Culex, Culiseta, Orthopodomyia.

Illustrations. • Aedes, Anopheles, Culex, Culiseta (from Walker). See notes for legend. • Anopheles claviger (Plain Mosquito: B. Ent. 210). • Anopheles claviger (detail: B. Ent. 210). • Anopheles claviger (dissections: B. Ent. 210). • Anopheles claviger (B. Ent. 210, legend+text). • Anopheles claviger (B. Ent. 210, text cont.). • Aedes geniculatus (White-spotted Mosquito: B. Ent. 537). • Aedes geniculatus: B. Ent. 537, legend+text. • Aedes geniculatus: B. Ent. 537, text cont.. • Aedes sticticus: as Culex concinnus, 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.’.