British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adult insects. Slender-bodied; stilt-legged. The legs not readily shed. Antennae 8–16 segmented; ‘simple’. Ocelli absent. The maxillary palps 3–5 segmented; drooping. Thorax with the dorsal suture continuous across the middle. The dorsal suture deeply U-shaped (characteristically, by contrast with the V-shape in Tipulidae). Wing veins reaching the margin 10, or 11. Wing vein 7 reaching the margin. 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 3 distally forked. Wing vein 6 present; reaching the wing margin. Wing vein 7 absent. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent; patterned (spotted). Tibiae spurred (apically).

Larvae and pupae. The larvae aquatic (usually in muddy water, breathing via a long tail tube); saprophagous (on decaying plant material); eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Generally shining black insects, with yellow or brown markings on the legs.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Ptychopteromorpha; Superfamily Ptychopteroidea.

British representation. 7 species in Britain. Genera 1; Ptychoptera.

Illustrations. • Ptychoptera contaminata (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.’.