flies

(Order Diptera)

               
Overview

Diptera is the order of insects that includes gnats, mosquitoes, and true flies. There is estimated to be about 1,000,000 species worldwide, though only about 125,000 have been described. There are about 17,000 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 500 species in Minnesota. They are widespread and abundant, occurring on every continent, including Antarctica, every state in the United States, and every county in Minnesota. Some are agricultural pests, some transmit diseases. Many are beneficial as pollinators or serve to control other insect pests.

red-tailed flesh fly

  Photo by Bill Reynolds
   
 

Adults are active from early spring to late fall. They are found in many habitats, always near habitats suitable for their larvae. They are often found on flowers. Some are blood sucking and are found on or near the animals on which they feed. Larvae live in water, soil, decaying organic matter, or plant or animal tissue.

Identification

Adults are 164 to 1916 (0.5 to 40 mm) long and relatively soft-bodied. They have a movable head, large compound eyes, and mouthparts optimized for sucking. Most species have 3 small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle on top of the head. Their maxillary palps are well developed but they have no labial palps. They have one pair of membranous wings. The hindwings are reduced to small, knob-like structures (halteres). The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, almost always has 5 segments. The larvae are soft and worm-like. They have no head and no legs.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)

 
Subordinate Taxa

Diptera are traditionally divided into three suborders.

  • Nematocera (flies with multi-segmented antennae)
  • Brachycera (flies with stylate antennae)
  • Cyclorrhapha (flies with aristate antennae)

Recent classifications include Cyclorrhapha within Brachycera.

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

flies

 

Glossary

Halteres

In flies: a pair of knob-like structures on the thorax representing hind wings that are used for balance.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Palp

Short for pedipalp. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and weapons in scorpions. Plural: palpi.

 

Tarsus

On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   
Share your photo of this insect.
 

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

       
Alfredo Colon
       
  fly (Order Diptera)    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
     
     
     
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
       
Share your video of this insect.
   

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.

       
       
       
Other Videos
 
       
       
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   
Report a sighting of this insect.
This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.

Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

fly (Order Diptera)


     
     
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
         

 

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 10/9/2020

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2020 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.