British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Keds, Louse-flies, Tick-flies.

Life style parasitic (and highly specialised, cf. Nycteribidae); on mammals other than humans and birds (curiously, seemingly not on bats).

Adult insects. Small; winged, or wingless. Antennae 1 segmented; ‘modified’ (inserted in a depression); aristate, or not aristate; the arista if present, apical. Ptilinal suture clearly defined. Ocelli absent. Mouthparts functional; adapted for piercing (blood-sucking). The maxillary palps 1 segmented; porrect. Thorax with the dorsal suture continuous across the middle; with well defined posterior calli. Wings without a sub-apical cell. The costa when wings present, unbroken (but incomplete distally). Sub-costa apparent; reaching the costa independently of vein 1. Wing vein 6 present; reaching the wing margin. Hind tibiae with strong bristles in the basal 4/5. Parasitic (being highly specialised, blood-sucking ectoparasites parasites of birds, and of mammals other than bats).

Larvae and pupae. The larvae terrestrial; developing within the mother, being nourished via a greatly developed ‘acessory gland’, before leaving to pupate (finally pupating on the ground or in the abode of the host); acephalic. The pupae enclosed within a puparium.

Classification. Suborder Brachycera; Division Muscomorpha Schizophora Calyptratae; Superfamily Hippoboscoidea.

British representation. 14 species in Britain. Genera 10; Crataerina, Hippobosca, Icosta, Lipoptena, Melophagus, Olfersia, Ornithomya, Ornithophila, Pseudolynchia, Stenepteryx.

Illustrations. • Ornithomya fringillina Curtis: B. Ent. 585. • Ornithomya fringillina Curtis: B. Ent. 585, legend+text. • Ornithomya fringillina Curtis: B. Ent. 585, text cont.. • Hippobosca, Lipotena, Melophagus, Ornithomyia, Stenepteryx: from Walker. • Melophagus ovinus (Sheep-louse, Sheep-tick or Ked: B. Ent. 142). • Melophagus ovinus (detail: B. Ent. 142). • Melophagus ovinus (dissections: B. Ent. 142). • Melophagus ovinus (B. Ent. 142, legend+text). • Melophagus ovinus (B. Ent. 142, text cont.). • Hippobosca equina (Horse-fly or Ked: B. Ent. 421). • Hippobosca equina (detail: B. Ent. 421). • Hippobosca equina (dissections: B. Ent. 421). • Hippobosca equina (B. Ent. 421, legend+text). • Hippobosca equina (text, cont.: B. Ent. 421). • Lipotena cervi (Pale-legged Ked: B. Ent. 14). • Lipotena cervi (B. Ent. 14, legend+text). • Lipotena cervi (B. Ent. 14, text cont.). • Stenepteryx hirundinis (Swallow's Ked: B. Ent. 122). • Stenepteryx hirundinis (B. Ent. 122, legend+text). • Stenepteryx hirundinis (B. Ent. 122, text cont.).

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.’.