Crane Flies
Long-palped Crane Flies
March Flies

Snipe Flies
March Flies
Soldier Flies
Tangle-veined Flies
Small-head Flies

Robber Flies
Flower-loving Flies
Mydas Flies
Bee Flies

Long-legged Flies

Hover Flies

Acalyptrata flies
Ant Flies
Lauxaniid Flies
Stilt-legged Flies
Leaf Miner Flies
Milichiidae/ Chloropidae
Freeloader Flies
Signal Flies
Scarab Flies
Fruit Flies
Water-skating Flies  

Calyptratae Flies
Bush Flies
Flesh Flies
Tachinid flies

Unknown Flies

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Flies - Order Diptera

This page contains pictures and information about flies and mosquitoes in order Diptera that we have founded in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Flies and mosquitoes are classified as order Diptera, which mean two wings. The insects in this order have only one pair of membranous flying wings. The second pair of wings are reduced to small knobs, called halteres , for the purpose of balancing. Their body is relatively soft and hairy. They have a pair of large compound eyes, a pair of very short antennae and a sucking mouth.
Members in this order are strong flier. They are active in day time but some are active at night. Most species with external digestion, foods are liquidized by their enzymes before suck up by their sucking mouths. Some species, like the mosquitoes, pierce the prey skin with their sharp mouthparts and suck up the blood.
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Robber fly pupa empty case 
Files develop by complete metamorphosis with four stages, i.e., eggs, larva, pupa and adult. Their larvae are known as maggots. Usually there are four larval instars. In some species, females deposit live larvae. Larvae in this order do not have legs and most of their heads reduced to very simple form. The mosquitoes larvae are mainly aquatic.

Classification : 

Order Diptera is divided into two suborders, Nematocera and Brachycera. 

Lower Diptera (Nematocera) - Crane Flies and Mosquitoes

Members in this suborder are generally primitive flies, all with filamentous antenna of 6-14 segment. Usually their bodies and legs are elongated, with a relatively long abdomen. Larvae are mostly aquatic.
Family Tipulidae - Crane Flies
Flies in this family look like giant mosquitoes (mosquitoes will not be that large). However, not like mosquitoes, they do not feed on blood. Crane flies only drink water but do not feed at adult stage. Most of them have their long thin legs and slender body.
Family Limoniidae - Long-palped Crane Flies
The family Limoniidae is very close related with Tipulidae and sometimes put under Tipulidae as subfamily Limoniinae. Their larvae are aquatic or semi-aquatic. There is not much known about their life cycle and biology. 
Family Culicidae - Mosquitoes 
Mosquitoes could be the most encountered insects when we go for bush-walking and talking insect photos. Only a few species of mosquitoes suck human blood. Some species suck blood from other vertebrate animals. Some species do not suck blood at all.
Family Bibionidae - March Flies
Adults in this family are slow moving, usually dark in colour. They are nectar and pollen feeder. Larvae live in soil or plants, feeds on decaying plant materials.

Brachycera - Orthorrhapha 

Members in this suborder are with short to very short antennae. Their adults are generally robust fliers. Larvae are all with three instars stages. Their head capsule is incomplete or absent. They pupae inside puparium formed from last larval skin.

Superfamily Tabanoidea - Snipe Flies, March Files and Soldier Flies

Family Rhagionidae - Snipe Flies
Flies in this family are usually small in size. They have slender body, sparse hairs and long legs. Most of them are in dull colours. Some species in this family suck blood.
Family Tabanidae - March Flies 
March Flies are from small to large in size. They have large eyes with reflective iridescent colour. Their wings always have the 'Y' shaped veins at the tip. Usually there are the dense short hairs on their body. Some species of female feed on blood, they target on horse, cattle and humans.
Family Stratiomyidae - Soldier Flies 
We cannot find more information about Solder flies from internet nor reference books. It seems we do not know much about them. Their Larvae are carnivorous and occur in various habitats such as aquatic, decaying materials and under bark.
Family Nemestrinidae - Tangle-veined Flies
This is a small family. This family is easily recognised by the complex wing venation. The fly is usually large to medium size with hairy body. 
Family Acroceridae - Small-head Flies
Flies in this family are also known as Bladder flies for they have the swollen, bladder-like thorax and the small head.  

Superfamily Asiloidea - Robber Flies, Flower-loving Flies, Mydas Flies and Bee Flies

Family Asilidae - Robber Flies
The Robber Flies have strong legs which can catch prey on flight. They are large flies with large eyes and necked head. They are active predators on flying insects, unselective in prey species. Their mouthparts are the triangular proboscis  which insert into prey and suck the juice.
Family Apioceridae - Flower-loving Flies
This fly is easily identified by its wing veins. Although they are called Flower-loving Flies and feed on flowers, they usually are found resting on ground. We only found one species of this family.
Family Mydidae - Mydas Flies
This is a small family of handsome, elongate flies, of medium to large size. Mydas Flies are usually wasp-mimicking. They look similar to Asilidae but can be distinguished by the 4-seggmented long clubbed antennae and wing venation.
Family Bombyliidae - Bee Flies
Bee Flies are with long proboscis and feed on nectar. They are hairy resemble bees. Most of them mimic wasps or bees. However, they have stout bodies and do not have narrowed waist. Their wings are usually dark in colour, some with patterns. When at rest, their wings are flat in outspread position.

Superfamily Empidoidea 

Family Dolichopodidae - Dolichopodid Flies, Long-legged Flies
They are small to minute in size with bright metallic colors, mostly green or bronze. Their legs are long and so they have their common name. Adult Dolichopodid Flies feed on smaller insects such as aphids. Larvae are usually found in moist soil and under tree bark.

Brachycera - Cyclorrhapha


Superfamily Syrphoidea 

Family Syrphidae - Hover Flies
Hover Flies may sometimes confused with bees or wasps because their mimic colour. Their bodies are medium to slender.  On their abdomen there are the yellow-black wasps pattern and the narrow waist mimic pattern. The flies feed on nectar and are the pollinators of plants as well.


Acalyptrata flies

Family Sepsidae - Ant Flies
This is a small family. Flies in this family are small and ant-like. They have the habit of continuously waving the wings when at rest. Adults usually found in swarm. Their larvae live mainly in mammal faeces.
Family Lauxaniidae - Lauxaniid Flies
The Lauxaniid Flies has two pair of fronto-orbital bristles. They are usually small to medium size, with clean or marked wings. They like to rest in shaded forest or vegetation. Their larvae are usually found on fallen leaves or other rotting plant materials. 
Family Micropezidae - Stilt-legged Flies
Flies in this family have very long legs, although the front pair is obviously shorter. Their body is elongated with patterned wings. Most are medium in size. They wave their fore legs in front of head when resting on plants. 
Family Agromyzidae - Leaf Miner Flies
Family Milichiidae and Chloropidae - Freeloader Flies
Milichiidae and Chloropidae are two very close related Diptera families. Some species in family Milichiidae and Chloropidae can be found gathering around feeding spider or some other predator insects in order to feed on their prey.
Family Platystomatidae - Signal Flies
Most flies in this family feed on mammalian faeces. Their larvae habits are varied. Some lives in plant trunk damaged by other insects or fungi. This group of flies contains the spectacular species, the stalk-eyed signal flies. The males have eyes on long stalks extending from either side of their heads. 
Family Pyrgotidae - Scarab Flies
This fly looks similar to those in family PLATYSTOMATIDAE and TEPHRITIDAE. We determined it is in the family PYRGOTIDAE by its wing veins patterns (Sc vein reaching the wing margin at a sharp right angle) and its absent of incurved lower fronto-orbital bristles.
Family Tephritidae - Fruit Flies
Most larvae in this family are fruit  feeders and some are serious economic pests. The female Fruit flies insert their eggs inside fruit and the larvae live inside.
Family Ephydridae - Water-skating Flies
Most species in this family are associated with plants or algae near water.

Calyptratae Flies

Superfamily Muscoidea  

Family Muscidae - Bush Flies
Bush Flies develop as maggots in the animals dung. Adults have two stripes on their back. The Common House Fly Musca domestica is also in this family. 
Superfamily Oestroidea  
Family Calliphoridae - Blowflies
Most of the flies in this family are metallic green or blue colour. They are medium to large in size. There are the bristles on the both sides of their thorax and abdomen tip. Adult Blowfly feeds on nectar, honey dew and other sweet liquid, or liquid products of organic decomposition.
Family Sarcophagidae - Flesh Flies
The Flesh flies have three black stripes on the top of their thorax. The females are viviparous, producing live maggots directly onto their food source. They are either breed in rotting vegetation or parasites on other insects. They are commonly seen in Brisbane backyards.
Family Tachinidae - Tachinid flies
All Tachinid Flies share the parasitoid habit, their larvae are parasites in other insects. They mainly parasites on larvae of moths or butterflies, larvae or adults of beetles. Others Tachinid Flies species attack adults of bugs, or adults of various orthopteroid orders.
Others - Please also visit this page, there are the flies that we cannot identify yet. 

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p717. 
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p333. 
3. Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions - edited by Neal L. Evenhuis, Bishop Museum 2007.
4. Diptera (flies) - of Orange County, California, by Peter J. Bryant and Ron Hemberger, University of California 

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Last updated: April 14, 2013.