Scathophagidae - Dungflies



BRACHYCERA, Muscomorpha Schizophora Calyptratae, Muscoidea

Number of British species: 54

Size: S-M

Difficulty: 2



Small to large (3-12 mm), usually slender flies. Colour ranging from a dull yellowish brown to lustrous black or yellow, in some species bicolourous. Body and legs often with many bristles, sometimes densely covered by fine hairs. Occiput usually with some to many pale, longhairs; arista bare to plumose; interfrontal bristles absent. Wing usually clear, sometimes distinctly marked or darkened at the tip or along the crossveins; anal vein long, usually reaching the wing margin. Meron without bristles along the hind margin, near the posterior spiracle.


The biology of the species in this family varies widely. In most species the larvae are phytophagous; some are leafminers or living in flower heads (inflorescences), seed capsules, stems, etc. In other species the larvae feed or prey on small organisms in rotting organic matter such as seaweed nesting material and dung; or they prey on eggs of aquatic insects. The adults prey mainly on small soft bodied insects and other organisms. Some species are attracted to dung in considerable numbers. One of the best-known examples of this family is Scathophaga stercoraria (Linnaeus). This species, of which the reddish brown, densely pilose males gather on cow dung, may be observed nearly all year round.



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families/brachycera/calyptrates/scathophagidae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:35 by stuart     Back to top
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