Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Flies (Diptera)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_3838

Flies are an order of fairly small, relatively frail, two-winged insects. Despite these characteristics, however, they are extremely important, both for their direct biting effects, and because they may transmit diseases to animals. The name of this order is based on the Greek words di (two) and pteron (wing).


About 100,000 species of flies are known. Various classification systems exist for this large and diverse order. Two suborders usually are presented: Nematocera with long, many-segmented antennae, and Brachycera with short, apparently 3-segmented antennae. The larvae of the Nematocera also are distinguished by possessing large heads with mandibles that move laterally. In contrast, the larvae of Brachycera tend to have small heads bearing mouth hooks that move vertically. Pupae of the Brachycera also differ in that the pupal stage is passed inside the hardened cuticle of the last larval instar; this is called a puparium. The numerous muscoid families are divided...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Arnett RH Jr (2000) American insects, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1003 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Evenhuis NL (ed) Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian regions. http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/aocat/ (accessed 12 April 2008)
  3. McAlpine JF (ed) 1981–1989. Manual of Nearctic Diptera, Volumes 1–3. Agriculture Canada Research Branch, Monographs 27, 28, and 32Google Scholar
  4. Oldroyd H 1964 The natural history of flies. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London. 324 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. Stehr FW 1991 Immature insects, Vol. 2. Kendall/Hunt Publishing, Dubuque, Iowa. 974 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008