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Family Athericidae - Watersnipe Flies

Big Springs mystery fly - male? side view - Suragina concinna - male Atherix lantha Watersnipe Fly Larva - Atherix lantha Unknown Flying Insects (dead) - Atherix - female Fly species?  - Atherix - male Pattern-winged Fly - Suragina concinna Atherix lantha Atherix sp. watersnipe fly
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Infraorder Tabanomorpha
Family Athericidae (Watersnipe Flies)
Other Common Names
Ibis Flies
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
formerly treated as part of Rhagionidae
Explanation of Names
Athericidae Nowicki 1873
5 spp. in 2 genera in our area(1), >130 spp. in 12 genera total(2)
Adult: costa extends around entire wing; cell R1 closed by vein R2+3 meeting C at end of R1, vein CuA2 meeting vein A1 before wing margin, wings patterned; lower calypter much reduced or absent; stout tapered abdomen; tergite 1 with posterior margin straight; longish legs; 1st & 2nd antennal segments doughnut-shaped, last (3rd) segment with long, unsegmented bristle (slender, nonannulated arista); fore tibiae without spurs, mid and hind tibiae with 2 spurs; feet with triple pad beneath tarsal claws (2 pulvilli and a pulvilliform empodium in between)
Larva: 7 pairs of abdominal prolegs and a single proleg on the last segment; lack true head; long fleshy filaments extend from hind end; short filaments protrude from each side of each abdominal segment
Larvae found in pristine streams, adults nearby
larvae are aquatic and either predaceous on other invertebrates or saprophagous in wooden debris, submerged timbers, etc.; some adults are predaceous, but females of at least some species of 3 genera are blood feeders: Atrichops, Dasyomma, Suragina (3)(4)(5). Despite what prior and even some modern literature suggests, the genus Atherix does not contain blood feeding species. The mouthparts are not sufficiently modified for biting in the Palearctic Atherix ibis (Nagatomi & Soroida, 1985). The Neotropical Atherix longipes Bellard was moved to the genus Suragina.
Print References
Webb, D. W. 1977. The Nearctic Athericidae (Insecta: Diptera). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 50(4): 473-495.
Nagatomi, A., and Soroida, K. 1985. The structure of the mouthparts of the orthorrhaphous Brachycera (Diptera) with special reference to blood-sucking. Beiträge zur Entomologie Berlin 35(2): 263-368.