Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

National Moth Week was July 23-31, 2022! See moth submissions.

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events

Detailed Fly Family Wish List

Beatriz Moisset started a thread about this (168663), but I don’t want to burden her with having to update it as I am going to add a lot of information.

Here is a list of the families of flies in North America that do not have photos on Bugguide. Flies are the worst represented, family-wise, of the megadiverse insect orders on this site. A family wish-list seemed to help the beetles, so I'm hoping it will help here. I will first present the lists.

The first is a list of the families of which we have no photos. The second is a list of the families for which we don’t have photos of live specimens. The last is a list of the families for which we DO have images of the larvae, as you can see, family coverage of immature flies needs much work.

These latin names mean nothing to most people, so to help facilitate the addition of new families, I have written a short summary of each family we don’t have and where to find it.
I compiled this information from personal communications and the Manual of Nearctic Diptera (1) (2). The regions I give refer to North America north of Mexico. Note that there are many families only found in the Northwest, and a number that are unique to tree sap communities. If anything should be added or subtracted to this list, please put a comment on this thread or contact me.

Nycteribiidae - Bat flies



Tiny black acalyptrates in the Northeast, most often found at tree sap and fungus but rare. These are the only flies with a costal break near H but not one near Sc. Often the anterior margin of their wings are smoky or black. (Picture on ToL).

Asteiidae John F. Carr 5/15/09
Tiny yellow or black acalyptrates with short R2+3, found at tree sap, rotten fungi, windows; widespread.

Small, rare, empidoids with stylate antennae, forked M1+2, large alula; western. I have collected them by sweeping along streams in canyons in CA, for instance Del Puerto Canyon. Not too rare just live in small localities.

Axymyiidae Tom Murray 5/13/08
Larvae live in partly submerged wood in slow moving streams, medium, black, bulky adults live for short while in early spring. Both are very bizarre looking. Eastern mountains.

Camillidae Jessica Holdenried 2/20/12
Tiny metallic black or green acalyptrates, larvae often live in animal burrows. Can be locally common if sweeping in an area with many burrows. Introduced to, and most common in, Eastern Canada. There are also rare native species in Arizona.

Canacidae- Canacinae- Beach/ surge flies
Tiny gray or black acalyptrates, somewhat like ephydrids, which scavenge in intertidal areas; Atlantic coast and California. This group was combined with Tethinidae recently so I removed it from the wish list.

Canthyloscelidae Karl Volkman 6/27/10
Small scatopsid-like flies whose larvae live in fungus-infested rotting wood; Northwest and California

Corethrellidae - Frog-biting midges Tom Murray 7/16/12
These flies look like chaoborids but have different wing venation and sparsely haired clypeus; same habitats as chaoborids and mosquitoes. Adults tend to suck blood of amphibians. Eastern and Southwestern

Cryptochetidae rob macfarlane 6/10/15
Tiny black acalyptrates with huge antennal flagellomeres, tiny aristae. Parasites of scale insects, introduced to California to control cottony cushion scale.

Curtonotidae Kyle Schnepp 4/14/10
Medium-sized gray or yellow-brown acalyptrates, widespread but rare, evidence suggests the species found here is a predator of grasshopper eggs.

Tiny bright yellow, white, black colored acalyptrates, related to Neriidae and Micropezidae. One species of Latheticomyia has been collected at banana baits in the evening in Utah and Arizona, it kind of looks like a tiny neriid. Some experts split them into two families. Cypselosomatidae s.s. is restricted to Southeast Asia and Australia. The US species would belong to Pseudopomyzidae s.s. I guess we can resolve that if/when a photo gets posted!

Deuterophlebiidae - Mountain midges Kyle Schnepp on 3/8/13
Extremely distinct looking adults with very long antennae and creased, broad, fan like wings. Larvae in fast moving streams, with suction cups at ends of pseudopodia. Adults may live for only 15 minutes. Western mountains.

Diadocidiidae Jody Anderson 11/9/12
A family of fungus gnats with venation: bm-cu distinct, R2+3 absent. widespread

Ditomyiidae Rob Curtis 11/5/10
Another family of fungus gnats with venation as: bm-cu distinct, R2+3 long. mostly eastern

Dixidae - Meniscus midges Stephen Luk 6/24/08
Adults look somewhat like large chironomids but with an arched R2+3, giving the wing venation a distinct shape. Larvae are aquatic and stay near surface, adults mostly found on vegetation near larval habitat. Widespread.

Small yellow and black acalyptrates. Introduced to Florida (and California?) to control invasive Melaleuca paperbark trees. The introduction was considered unsuccessful but flies may persist. (Picture on ToL)
(Picture on

Helcomyzidae Austin Baker on 1/18/13
Large, hairy, yellow-brown dryomyzid like fly with antennae separated, gena haired, mid tibia with posterior setae, C with spines, patterned wings. Coast of Oregon and Washington.

Heterocheilidae Joel Kits 11/6/10
Large, hairy, yellow-brown dryomyzid like fly with antennae separated, gena haired, mid tibia without posterior setae, C without spines, unpatterned wings. Alaska through Oregon, coastal.

Hilarimorphidae kallan 1/16/14
Rare, small brown flies, look like scenopinid or small bombyliid, often found on vegetation near gravel-bottomed streams; widespread.

Lygistorrhinidae Chris Hartley 7/25/15
Another family of fungus gnats with distinct, reduced venation (‘detached veins’) and long slender mouthparts. Southeastern.

Nycteribiidae, Bat flies
Wingless, dorsally flattened, obligate bat parasites, kind of look like spiders; widespread. We'll need someone who mist-nets bats to find these flies.

Oreoleptidae Emily McAuley 6/15/2017
Newly described family; only larvae have been collected in the wild from fast moving mountain streams and artesian wells (adults have been reared). larvae have long pseudopodia, adults looks somewhat like horse flies. Rockies in and around Idaho, Montana, and Alberta.

Pachyneuridae - Dark-winged fungus/ root gnats Lynette Schimming 3/7/09
Adults are very distinct looking, perhaps like a large fungus gnat or very odd crane fly. Larvae bore in rotten logs, adults can be swept from nearby vegetation. Larvae look like bibionid larvae with large pseudopodia. Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

Pelecorhynchidae Ken Schneider 7/12/08
Medium to large sized brown or black flies, look like horse flies but don’t suck blood. Adults of a few species feed at flowers. Larvae live in wet soil, are probably predaceous. Widespread but rare, more species in the West.

Periscelididae Kyle Schnepp 4/14/10
Small dark gray or blackish-brown acalyptrates often with banded legs and odd-shaped heads. Adults usually collected at tree sap. Widespread but with more species in the East.

Ropalomeridae Keith Bayless 4/11/10
Medium to large brownish hairy acalyptrate flies with triangular-shaped head with bulging eyes and unusually complete venation for an acalyptrate. Florida.

Streblidae - Bat flies Kyle Schnepp 4/14/10
Parasites of bats. Look more like flies than Nycteribiids do, but still bizarre looking; most are winged. Widespread in the West, only south from Kentucky in the East.

Strongylophthalmyiidae Jeff Gruber 7/14/2015 (ID'ed 2019)
Medium to small dark acalyptrates with yellow legs. Look like Psilids. Adults can be found on rotten aspen, birch, and elms, which is the larval habitat. Kevin Barber says- Sweep vegetation in aspen canopy woods; they can be found in city parks! Widespread in Canada and Northeastern U.S.
From V- mostly Oriental, less common in the Palaearctic Region(3); Strongylophthalymia angustipennis is transcontinental in NA (south to VA-NE-NM-BC)(4) but other species exist in N. America.

Tanypezidae Matthew Bergeron 6/17/10
Medium-sized, long-legged flies, dark with patches of silver or gold hairs. Very rare, found in wet old growth forests in the East.

Tethinidae Kevin Hall 7/28/08
Small to tiny gray or black acalyptrates, often found on beaches or near estuaries. Can also be found near streams in the desert in the Southwest. Look somewhat like ephydrids or agromyzids, found on East and West coasts but more widespread in distribution and more species in the West.

Thaumaleidae - Solitary/ trickle midges Kirk C. Tonkel 1/27/13
Small gnats that look somewhat like black flies. The larvae are found in water running vertically over rocks. Mostly in pristine mountain habitats in the East with one species in British Columbia.

Vermileonidae - Worm lions Charley Eiseman 10/8/08
Adults are very distinct looking medium sized elongate yellow flies, maybe like a cross between a rhagionid and a leptogastrine asilid. Larvae make conical pits in the sand to trap insects much like ant lions. Here are pictures of vermileonids from (note that the North American species do not have long proboscids). Southwest.

Joel Kits identified this as Strongylophthalmyia angustipennis.


Still need 7 more!
I reformatted and added some info for the families we're missing.

Hiliarimorpha n. sp. (Genus ID confirmed by Bradley Sinclair.)

I placed the family in Asiloidea, following tradition.

Tanyderidae larva
First larva of Tanyderidae.

Deuterophlebiidae immature
Immatures only of Deuterophlebiidae.

I have not seen the revision (Courtney, 1990) but the pupa looks correct for D. shasta based on

Kennedy, H. D. 1960. Deuterophlebia inyoensis, a New Species of Mountain Midge from the Alpine Zone of the Sierra Nevada Range, California (Diptera: Deuterophlebiidae). Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 79(2):191-210.

We have Helcomyza mirabilis, which I placed in Dryomyzidae.

why did you place it in dryomyzidae
what source did you use

I followed Manual of Nearctic Diptera, not knowing any reason to change.

oh, ok
It is considered a separate family in Sciomyzoidea in recent sources, for instance in the BDWD.

Helcomyzidae is not placed near Dryomyzidae in Wiegmann et al 2011 PNAS (1), instead closer to Coelopidae, however support is low for relationships within Sciomyzoidea.

I'm with Keith on this one. Helcomyzidae is now pretty widely accepted as a separate family so it's best treated as such here (The MND is now over 30 years old so it's inevitable that much has changed in classification and known species numbers. I wonder if or when we'll ever see an updated MND2)


but, frankly, not much of a head-turner

the larvae
are much cooler, in behavior/ habitat at least. Thaumaleidae is a great addition, 2013 is shaping up to be a much better year than the last two!

Have larvae

The larva list might be better expressed as a wish list, but there's not much left to realistically wish for. Dozens of families of identical maggots in the Schizophora. Another new family of fungus gnats like the old fungus gnats.

Photo by Jody Anderson.

Try typing that family name ten times fast.

order page updated

Photos by Jessica Holdenried here. I don't know if the photos show all of the diagnostic characters, but I've seen the specimens.

Thanks Joel and Jessica
I remember these photos were uploaded and then removed a while ago, I'm glad they're back with a positive ID.

2012 is already turning out much better than 2011 for new bugguide fly families!

Non native?
Are Camilla non native flies? Were you able to ID the species from the specimens?

I couldn't remember the name at the time I moved it, but we have identified the species. They are Camilla atrimana, which is an introduced species from Europe. This is the first record from the New World (we have a paper soon to be submitted describing the record). There is one native species of Camilla as well, and probably more undescribed.

Is this Canacidae (s.s.)?

I removed Canacidae
from the do not have list as we seem to have a consensus that we shouldn't treat it as a family. It's still worth looking for 'Canacinae' though!


I suspect it's a tethinid (s.s.), but I'm not very familiar with these flies and the photo isn't sharp enough to key it comfortably.

Maybe Corethrellidae
I'm not convinced.

Another try
I think this photo by Tom Murray is a genuine Corethrella.

(Not) Corethrellidae
I agree with your comments on the image. As well, the fact that the fly was on the photographer's leg and appears to be trying to bite suggests it's not a corethrellid, which would be unlikely to be attracted to a human.

BTW, if anyone within the range of corethrellids is interested in trying to photograph them, a tape recording of tree frogs calling (Hyla gratiosa is apparently effective) can be quite attractive to females.

Diptera Fall Cleanup Effort can use every pair of dipterist hands available -- basically, the task is having an expert comment on every submission sitting at the order level to justify moving to the guide or to Frass; direct moves most welcome

Just was added the other day.

Thanks for using this thread

Canacidae = Tethinidae
Canacidae and Tethinidae are now synonyms so we have both, under the latter name.

I don't think this is the correct forum for this discussion.
Canacidae is the senior name so if we were to follow the synonymy it would be under Canacidae and not Tethinidae.

Further thoughts here.

I picked up Heterocheila at the ESC meeting in Vancouver, so another family can come off the list.

also see recent thread re: Ditomyiidae(1)

Lynette beat me...
...but only because i got distracted by talking to our Kim about some mirid issues

Mirid shmirid.

i insist on schmirid

Thanks for submitting
There are families on this list which are more common and widespread so keep photographing flies everyone

Matt Bertone noted this fly may be Canthyloscel[id]idae (=Synneuridae).

These are the clearest images I have of the fly, but I will keep an eye out in the Interpretive center grounds as one of the Elms has a dead section of trunk.

I moved these to a new guide page. I used the family name I had heard of (Synneuridae). Somebody who understands the nomenclatural issues can edit the family guide page to have whatever name seems more correct.

2010 is a great year for new fly families so far
I changed it to Canthyloscelidae as this is the name used by the BDWD ( and the most recent edition of Triplehorn & Johnson (Borror & Delong's Introduction to the Study of Insects 7th edition) for which I can't find the bugguide book citation at the moment.

I've met a few people working on Psychodomorpha and they use Canthyloscelidae. I think it's a similar situation to Ulidiidae vs Otitidae; both names were commonly cited in the literature referring to the same family but Ulidiidae was older.

Anyway, thank you Karl for posting the photos, Matt for making the ID, and John for making the page, and for using this thread.

One more family down, with Matthew Bergeron's live tanypezid.


i came 6 mins later with the good news...

Three more down
Kyle Schnepp has contributed Streblidae, Periscelididae, and Curtonotidae from collections.

thanks for using this thread

Isaac Winkler
from the lab I work in swept a Cryptochetid from an urban park in Yuerba Linda, CA! These remaining fly families can't hide from us for long, I sure you all can put a big dent in this list in 2010.

This has to be Cramptonomyia (Pachyneuridae):

The wing venation is a good match and does not fit anything else nearly as closely. The distinct pterostigma matches the University of BC description of the family. Likewise "dorsocentral setae pronounced." Season is right, environment and location are right. Differences: Arnett's description of size is smaller; the long palps are not visible in the small side drawing on the UBC web page. (Sexual dimorphism, maybe? Undescribed species? Transcription error?) [Update: A witness to collected specimens says they are twice as large as Arnett's description.]

thanks for using this thread.

1 2
next page
last page
Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.