British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Life style parasitic (perhaps sometimes, in the larval stage), or non-parasitic; on if genuinely parasitic, slugs and snails and Arthropods in general (?).

Adult insects. Small to large; robustly-built. Antennae 2–6 segmented; ‘modified’; aristate; the arista dorsal (basally plumose or not). The second antennal segment distinctly grooved above. Ptilinal suture clearly defined. Mouthparts functional; non-piercing. The maxillary palps 1 segmented; porrect. Thorax with the dorsal suture continuous across the middle; with well defined posterior calli. Postscutellum absent or weakly developed. Hypopleural bristles present. The post-humeral bristle located on the thorax higher than or level with the pre-sutural bristle. Wings with a discal cell; with a subapical cell; with a closed anal cell. The anal cell short. The costa unbroken. Sub-costa apparent; reaching the costa independently of vein 1. Wings exhibiting a sharp bend in vein 4; without a ‘vena spuria’; with a well developed lower calypter. Hind tibiae with strong bristles in the basal 4/5. Neither parasitic nor predatory.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae terrestrial; phytophagous, or saprophagous, or coprophagous, or parasitic (having been sometimes bred from insects and snails, but such cases may represent necrophagy rather than genuine parasitism); acephalic. The pupae enclosed within a puparium.

Comments. Non-metallic, mostly grey flies, with a chequered or tesselated appearance and bright red eyes.

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

British representation. 59 species in Britain. Genera 15; Agria, Amobia, Angiometopa, Blaesoxipha, Brachicoma, Macronychia, Metopia, Miltogramma, Nyctia, Oebalia, Pterella, Ravinia, Sarcophaga (35–40 species), Sarcophila, Senotainia.

Illustrations. • Miltogramma punctata (Colletes' Attendant, or Bees'-nest Fly: B. Ent. 529). • Miltogramma punctata (detail: B. Ent. 529). • Miltogramma punctata (dissections: B. Ent. 529). • Miltogramma punctata (B. Ent. 529, legend+text). • Miltogramma punctata (text, cont.: B. Ent. 529). • Sarcophaga carnaria (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.’.