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Family Platypezidae - Flat-footed Flies

Stripes and triangles - Polyporivora polypori fly Flat-footed Fly - Platypeza anthrax - female fly 69 - Lindneromyia Black and Silver Fly - Polyporivora polypori what species´╝č - Bertamyia notata - female Platypezid - Platypeza anthrax - female Fly with
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Aschiza")
Superfamily Platypezoidea
Family Platypezidae (Flat-footed Flies)
Other Common Names
Smoke Flies
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
genera treated in the Opetiinae in(1) now belong to 2 diff. subfamilies, Melanderomyiinae and Microsaniinae; the Palaearctic genus Opetia is now considered to be a sole member of Opetiidae, thus there is no subfamily Opetiinae in Platypezidae
Explanation of Names
Numbers
4 subfamilies, with ~70 spp. in 17 genera in our area(2) and >250 spp. in 19 genera worldwide(3)
Size
2-5 mm
Identification
Usually black or brown, enlarged hind tarsi.
Range
mostly n. hemisphere, incl. much of NA
Habitat
Typically woodlands.
Season
Late summer-fall. Brimley (4) lists collection dates of October for Platypeza in North Carolina. Insects of Cedar Creek (Minnesota) lists dates of August-September for Platypeza and July for Bertamyia.
Food
Adults may feed on fungi. Some groups are reported to take honeydew from leaves (Chandler, The Flat-footed Flies of Europe--review here).
Remarks
Males sometimes swarm, and females are attracted to these swarms. Some are attracted to smoke. (Do they mistake a column of smoke for a swarm? This seems possible.) Larvae live on fungi.
Some genera associated with stinkhorn mushrooms, Phallaceae (comments here).
Anna Botsford Comstock, in Handbook of Nature Study (1913), makes an interesting observation about spore dispersal in stinkhorn mushrooms:
The spores are borne in the chambers of the cap, and when ripe the substance of these chambers dissolves into a thick liquid in which the spores float. The flies are attracted by the fetid odor and come to feast upon these fungi and to lay their eggs within them, and incidentally they carry the spores away on their brushy feet, and thus help to spread the species.
The elongated tarsi have been suggested to be an adaptation for spreading the spores of host mushrooms.
Print References
(5)
Works Cited
1.Manual of Nearctic Diptera Volume 2
Varies for each chapter; edited by J.F. McAlpine, B.V. Petersen, G.E. Shewell, H.J. Teskey, J.R. Vockeroth, D.M. Wood. 1987. Research Branch Agriculture Canada.
2.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
3.USDA Diptera Site (now closed)
4.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
5.A review of the Platypezidae of Eastern North America
Johnson, C.W. 1923. Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History, 5: 51-58 + plate.