British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz




Adult insects. Slender-bodied; winged (usually), or wingless (e.g., Epidapus); stilt-legged. Antennae 8–16 segmented; long and threadlike; ‘simple’ (thread-like); not aristate. Ocelli present; 3. Eyes asymmetric, nearly or quite connected above the antennae (curving to meet one another). The maxillary palps 3 segmented; drooping. Vibrissae absent. Wing veins reaching the margin 3–6 (? - fewer than 9, with vein 2 absent). Wings without a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa not extending around the entire wing. Sub-costa apparent; terminating blind. The leading edge veins markedly stronger than the rest. Media and cubitus veins not connected by a cross-vein or a fusion. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent. Tibiae apically spurred. Feet without a triple pad. Abdomen constricted basally.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae terrestrial; saprophagous, or mycophagous (commonly gregarious, in rotting vegetable matter or highly organic soils); eucephalic (the head capsule black). The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Delicate flies, head often overhung by the humped thorax.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Bibionomorpha; Superfamily Sciaroidea.

British representation. 153 species in Britain. Genera 19; Bradysia, Bradysiopsis, Camptochaeta, Corynoptera, Cratyna, Ctenosciara, Epidapus, Leptosciarella, Lycoriella, Phytosciara, Pnyxia, Pseudolycoriella, Scatopsciara, Schwenckfeldina, Sciara, Scythropochroa, Trichosia, Xylosciara, Zygoneura.

Illustrations. • Epidapus, Sciara and Zygoneura (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.’.