British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Hairy Moth-flies, Owl-midges.

Adult insects. Very small to small (wings up to 4.5 mm long, but usually much smaller). Antennae 8–16 segmented; ‘simple’. Ocelli absent. Mouthparts non-functional. The maxillary palps 3–5 segmented; drooping. Vibrissae absent. Thorax without a continuous dorsal suture. 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. Sub-costa apparent; terminating blind, or joining vein 1 well short of the costa. Wing vein 6 present; reaching the wing margin. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae aquatic, or terrestrial; saprophagous, or coprophagous (sometimes abundant in sewage filters); eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Mostly minute, hairy, moth-like flies, usually resting with the wings held roof-like over the body. Wings often pointed. Often seen on windows and on tree trunks, running jerkily.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Psychodomorpha; Superfamily Psychodoidea.

British representation. 94 species in Britain. Genera 20; Brunettia, Bazarella, Boreoclytocerus, Feuerborniella, Mormia, Panimerus, Paramormia, Pericoma, Peripsychoda, Philosepedon, Psychoda, Sycorax, Szaboiella, Telmatoscopus, Threticus, Tonnoiriella, Trichomyia, Trichopsychoda, Tinearia, Vaillantia.

Illustrations. • Tinearia alternata: B. Ent. 745. • Tinearia alternata: B. Ent. 745, legend+text. • Tinearia alternata: B. Ent. 745, text cont.. • Tinearia, Trichomyia, Ulomyia (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.’.