British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


House-flies, Stable-flies, etc.

Life style parasitic (the adults sometimes being blood-suckers), or non-parasitic; on when bloodsucking, humans (?), or mammals other than humans.

Adult insects. Small to medium-sized; robustly-built; winged. Antennae 3 segmented; ‘modified’; aristate; the arista dorsal (plumose). The second antennal segment distinctly grooved above. Ptilinal suture clearly defined. Ocelli present; 3. Eyes asymmetric, nearly or quite connected above the antennae (often, in males), or rounded, well separated. Mouthparts functional; adapted for piercing (Stomoxyini or ‘Biting Muscids’, e.g., Stomoxys, the Stable-fly), or non-piercing. The maxillary palps 1 segmented; porrect. Thorax with the dorsal suture continuous across the middle; with well defined posterior calli. Hypopleural bristles absent. Wings with a discal cell; with a subapical cell; with a closed anal cell. The anal cell short. Sub-costa apparent; reaching the costa independently of vein 1. The leading edge veins not noticeably stronger than the rest. Wings exhibiting a sharp bend in vein 4 (Muscinae), or without a sharp bend in vein 4 (e.g., Coenosiinae, Mydaeinae). Wing vein 6 present; falling short of the wing margin. Wings with a well developed lower calypter. Tibiae with a dorsal pre-apical bristle, or without a dorsal pre-apical bristle. Hind tibiae with strong bristles in the basal 4/5. Visible abdominal segments 3–5 (? - ‘not more than 5’). Parasitic (e.g., Stomoxyinae, of which both sexes suck mammalian blood), or predatory (on smaller insects: Coenosiinae), or neither parasitic nor predatory.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae aquatic (more or less, in some species), or terrestrial; phytophagous, or saprophagous, or coprophagous, or consuming stored produce, or mycophagous, or predatory; acephalic. The pupae enclosed within a puparium.

Comments. Frons never with crossed bristles. Visible abdominal segments not more than five.

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

British representation. 279 species in Britain. Genera about 40; Achanthiptera, Azelia, Brontaea, Coenosia, Dexiopsis, Drymeia, Eudasyphora, Graphomya, Haematobia, Haematobosca, Helina, Henecnema, Hydrotaea, Limnophora, Limnospila, Lispe, Lispocephala, Lophosceles, Macrorchis, Mesembrina, Morellia, Musca, Muscina, Mydaea, Myospila, Neolimnophora, Neomyia, Orchisia, Phaonia, Polietes, Potamia, Pseudocoenosia, Pyrellia, Schoenomyza, Spanochaeta, Spilogona, Stomoxys, Thricops, Villeneuvia.

Illustrations. • Coenosia, Drymeia, Mesembrina, Polietes, Stomoxys (from Walker). • Lispe (from Walker). • Hydrotaea diabolus: B. Ent. 768. • Hydrotaea diabolus: B. Ent. 768, legend+text. • Hydrotaea diabolus: B. Ent. 768, text cont.. • Neomyia chloris (Green-cheeked Fly: B. Ent. 549). • Neomyia chloris (detail: B. Ent. 549). • Neomyia chloris (dissections: B. Ent. 549). • Neomyia chloris: B. Ent. 549, legend+text. • Neomyia chloris: B. Ent. 549, 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.’.