British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Meniscus-midges, Gnats.

Adult insects. Very small (with wing length 3–4 mm); slender-bodied; stilt-legged. Antennae 14–16 segmented; ‘simple’ (not plumed in the males). Ocelli absent. Eyes rounded, well separated. Mouthparts non-piercing (small). 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 Tipulidae). Wings without a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa extending around the entire wing. Sub-costa apparent; reaching the costa independently of vein 1. 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; patterned, or unpatterned. Parasitic.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae aquatic; saprophagous; eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Males congregating in dancing swarms.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Culicomorpha; Superfamily Culicoidea.

British representation. 15 species in Britain. Genera 2; Dixa, Dixella.

Illustrations. • Dixa nebulosa (Clouded-winged Crane-fly: B. Ent. 409). • Dixa nebulosa (detail: B. Ent. 409). • Dixa nebulosa (dissections: B. Ent. 409). • Dixa nebulosa: B. Ent. 409, legend+text. • Dixa nebulosa: B. Ent. 409, text cont.. • Dixa maculata (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.’.