Categories » True Flies

Order: Diptera: Derived from the Greek words "di" meaning two and "ptera" meaning wings, refers to the fact that true flies have only a single pair of wings. These are often villified and associated with blood sucking mosquitoes and garbage milling flies, but a majority are of great benefit to us. Many other insects include "fly" in their names due to their aerial abilities such as butterfly, firefly and mayfly, but note they are spelled as one word, whereas true flies are separated, such as robber fly and soldier fly*. On a personal note, I find to be the most beautifully colored like the bottle fly and long legged flies, and just plain crazy looking like the tachinid fly and picture-winged flies. Hope you do as well.

Bee Flies
Hover like bees, also mistaken for large fuzzy mosquitoes due to large proboscis, but for nectar vs blood.

Blow Flies/Bottle Flies:
Named for their metallic colors, some help solve cime scenes as carrion-breeding flies arrive at a carcass in a predictable sequence.

Crane Flies:
Look like huge mosquitoes, but are harmless. Cool alien -looking heads up close.

Deer & Horse Flies:
Holy painful bites, females only with knifelike mouthparts to slice and dive, while males sip flowers.

Flesh Flies:
Defy generalization, common ones associated with carrion, but others feed on wounds, dung, or are parasitic.

Flower Flies: Bee Mimics:
As their name implies, resemble bees as well, but do not seem to be as hairy as the Beeflies.

Flower Flies: Wasp Mimics
Smaller than many wasps but some mimic their behavior as well. Very fun to watch them hover in one place.

Flutter Flies:
Considered rare so hope this is correct, love the name. Found in moist woodlands, 3-5 mm.

Grass Flies
In fields and sedges along ponds, tiny and some strikingly patterned, some flit about eyes and ears so also known as eye gnats.

House Flies:
Lumped as filth flies, many can be vectors of disease in their habit of regurgitating "vomit drops" to liquify food for easier digestion.

Long-legged/Dancing Flies:
Many resemble mini robber flies, most are predatory. Some males offer wrapped meals to mates.

Midges & Black Flies:
Midges often mistaken for mosquitoes, but resting position of legs are up. Males form large swarms, have feathery antennae.

Can transmit deadly diseases, only females feed on blood, but not all species do. Humans are generally last resort hosts.

Picture-winged Flies:
Named for their banded or spotted wings. I find their stout snouts to be rather funny as well.

Robber Flies:
The falcons of the insect world, swift-winged predators, perching on plants, trees or the ground, dashing out to grab victim.

Snipe Flies:
Common in wooded areas, the ones I have seen have cute pointy abdomens. Both larvae and adults are predatory.

Soldier Flies:
Striking bee and wasp mimics, with Y or T shaped antennae to give them away.

Stilt-legged Flies:
Mimic wasps, walking with front legs extended like antennae, some mimic ants, found in wooded areas on bases of trees or low foliage.

Tachinid Flies:
Almost exclusively internal parasitoids of other insects, especially caterpillars. Most adults are robust with spiny abdomens.

Thick-headed Flies:
Have a rather large noggin. Mostly parasitic on solitary bees or wasps, females force host to ground, plant egg in prey's abdomen then release.


*Excerpted from Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

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