Muscidae - Houseflies

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Classification

BRACHYCERA, Muscomorpha Schizophora Calyptratae, Muscoidea

Number of British species: 281

Size: S-M

Difficulty: 2-3

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Characters

Small to large (2-18 mm) flies, usually coloured grey to black, in some cases yellowish brown or with an extensive green to blue metallic lustre. Mouthparts well developed; occiput lacking white or pallid hairs; arista bare to long plumose; interfrontal bristles usually absent, in some cases present in female (e.g. in Azelia). Scutellum bare underneath; subscutellum absent; meral bristles virtually always absent although Eginia has a patch of rather strong bristles and Graphomya has a row of rather weak bristles. Wing with apical half of vein Sc distinctly curving; vein M1 straight or with a faint to distinct forward curve; cell r4+5 open; anal vein usually well developed, but not continuing to wing margin; vein A2 and the anal vein would not intersect if virtually continued further (with the exception of some species of Azelia). Tibia of hind leg lacking a submedian dorsal bristle.

Biology

The following life modes of the larvae are known: carnivorous (Phaoniinae, Mydaeinae, Coenosia, Limnophora, Lispe, Graphomya), saprophagous in decaying organic matter (vegetable, animal, or excrement) where the third instar may or may not be carnivorous (Muscini, Stomoxyni, Hydrotaea) or, rarely, phytophagous (Atherigona). The larvae of Phaonia exoleta (Meigen) are known to live in rot holes in trees where they feed on the larvae of Culicidae; those of Limnophora riparia (Fallen) live in running water and the splash zones along canals, larvae of other genera are semi-aquatic (e.g. Limnophora, Lispe, Graphomya). Many species have adapted to human environments. The adults of most species feed on nectar but some species are predators (Coenosiinae), feed on blood (Stomoxyni) or on exuding (animal) wound liquor (Hydrotaea); the latter two groups are vectors of diseases. Musca autumnalis De Geer is a species that can occur indoors in large numbers from late summer onward, seeking shelter for the winter.

Identification

 
families/brachycera/calyptrates/muscidae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:01 (external edit)     Back to top
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