Explanation of Names
ANTHOMYIIDAE: from the Greek "anthos" (flower) + "myia" (a fly) - a literal translation derived from the adults' habit of feeding on nectar and pollen, but not generally applied to this group because another family (Syrphidae) is commonly called Flower Flies.
642 species in 39 genera in North America (nearctica.com
1,100 species in about 50 genera worldwide (Bishop Museum, Hawaii
Small to medium-sized flies, usually yellow, brown, gray or blackish; well-developed calypter at base of each wing; resemble muscid flies but more slender; wings sometimes clouded with gray or brown; legs yellowish to black. (Virtual Exhibit on Canada's Biodiversity
R5 cell parallel-sided, 2A reaches margin of wing, at least as a fold; hypopleura without bristles, often only one sternopleural bristle.
throughout North America and the world
adults often on flowers in moist or wooded habitats; also common in fields
Most adults feed on nectar. A few (Egle) feed on pollen, and may be important pollinators. Some (Alliopsis, Zaphne) are predators.
Larval food varies widely. Larvae may be found feeding on roots (Delia), leaves (Pegomya), or seeds (Delia, Egle) of plants; in bird nests (Anthomyia); in mammal dung (Calythea, Eutrichota, Hylemya); as endoparasitoids of grasshoppers (Acridomyia); in mushrooms (Anthomyia, Pegomya); or as kleptoparasites in nests of Hymenoptera (Eustalomyia, Leucophora).
1. eggs, 2. Larva (early instar), 3. Larva (later instar), 4. Puparia, 5. Adult
Except for a few species with distinctive color patterns, identification to genus normally requires a dorsal and close lateral shot clearly showing bristle pattern (legs and thorax), calypters, and antenna. Even then, some genera can not be identified except by dissection.
and pinned adult image of Spilogaster signia (Virtual Exhibit on Canada's Biodiversity)
(Bishop Museum, Hawaii)
info & pinned adult images
(Insects of Cedar Creek, Minnesota)