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Family Lonchaeidae - Lance Flies

Shiny, black, slow fly - Lonchaea Tiny black fly Small black fly Small Metallic Blue Fly Maybe Lauxaniidae Ovipositing on cactus stump - female fly Lance Flies
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Acalyptratae")
Superfamily Tephritoidea
Family Lonchaeidae (Lance Flies)
Explanation of Names
Lonchaeidae Rondani 1856
Numbers
~120 spp. in 6 genera in our area (72 spp. of Lonchaea and 36 of Dasiops)(1); >500 spp. in 8 genera total(2)
Habitat
Most larvae live behind bark of dead trees; some live on decaying fruits or vegetables.
Food
Some feed on larvae of bark beetles.
Life Cycle
Click on an image to view the life cycle:
Remarks
Mostly saprophagous - the larvae feed on dead or damaged plants, although some also feed on live, healthy plants. Several species of lonchaeids form swarms near or above trees, hovering and milling around in the air. This behavior is common in several families of flies (midges, black flies, dance flies, etc.), but lonchaeids are one of the few groups of "higher" flies (calyptrates and acalyptrates) that do it.(Comment by Terry Wheeler)
Some can be considered beneficial