- This page contains pictures and information about flies and mosquitoes in
order Diptera that
we have founded in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
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.
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.
- Robber fly pupa empty case
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.
- Order Diptera is divided into two suborders, Nematocera and Brachycera.
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.
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
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
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
- 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.
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.
- 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 -
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
- Family Nemestrinidae - Tangle-veined
- 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.
- Robber Flies, Flower-loving Flies, Mydas Flies and Bee Flies
- Family Asilidae
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.
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
- Family Bombyliidae - Bee
- 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
- 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
- Family Syrphidae - Hover
- 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
- Family Sepsidae - Ant
- 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
- 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
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
Agromyzidae - Leaf Miner Flies
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
Family Tephritidae - Fruit
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 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
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.
Ephydridae - Water-skating Flies
- Most species in this family are associated with plants or algae near
- 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 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
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
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
Others - Please also visit this page, there are the flies
that we cannot identify yet.
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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