J. Betts, November 2008 Diagnosing Features, adults: One pair of wings

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ORDER: DIPTERA (true flies)

with special reference to those found in Utah

prepared by: G. Hughes, & G. Hughes, October 2006

revised by: D. J. Betts, November 2008

Diagnosing Features, adults:

One pair of wings (Fig. 1);

Halteres – reduced hind wings that aid in flight; gyroscope-like function (Fig. 1);

Diverse mouthparts including: piercing, sucking, cutting, and lapping or sponging (plesiomorphic biting and chewing type are not represented).
Diagnosing Features, larvae:

Lacking paired legs on thorax, but diverse form otherwise (Fig. 2, 4, 8, 12);

Variety of “worm” shapes (Fig. 2, 4, 9, 10, 23, 27, 31, 39).
Habitat: Larval forms are found in nearly all aquatic habitat types, excluding the open ocean. Adults are semi-aquatic and terrestrial.
Trophic Habits: Nearly all trophic groups are represented.
Development: Holometabolous.
Preservation: Larvae and pupae preserved in alcohol. Adults can be pointed or pinned. Long-legged forms (adults) are frequently preserved in alcohol. Preserving outside of alcohol, long-legged forms should initially be laterally flattened in glassine envelopes then pointed by gluing right side of thorax to the point, with the legs directed toward the pin.
Notes: In the number of species, Dipterans are the most diverse aquatic group. Among the aquatic Diptera, the majority are of the suborder Nematocera. Most if not all of the larvae of several nematocerous families are aquatic. The suborder Brachycera is also well represented in aquatic habitats. Nematocera is a paraphyletic group because the descendants of their common ancestor would include the Brachycera. The nematocerans are the mosquito-like flies, and the brachycerans are more robust. When in doubt, with respect to Diptera the answer is: Voluptuous.

Fig. 1 – Adult crane fly

Fig. 2 – Tabanid larvae


(long-horned flies)

Morphology (larvae):

Distinctly sclerotized heads with opposing mandibles which open and close from side to side.

Morphology (adults):

Approximately 6 (or many more) antennal segments (Fig. 3);

Usually delicate flies with long leg (Fig. 1, 3).

Fig. 3 – Adult mosquito (Culicidae)

FAMILY: BLEPHARICERIDAE (net-winged midges)

Fig. 4 – Agathon larva (ventral)

Fig. 5 – Agathon larva (dorsal)

Morphology (larvae):

Head and thorax and at least one abdominal segment fused, with an additional six body divisions bearing sucker disks (Fig. 4, 5)
Morphology (adults):

Creases in wings in addition to he veins

Ecology: scrapers in torrents of waterfalls and fast riffles; limited to high gradient streams, usually running over igneous or metamorphic rock, rarely on limestone.
Utah Genera:

Bibiocephala grandis Osten Sacken: Common locally; in northern Utah streams. Agathon: may occur in Utah.

Dioptosis: may occur in Utah.

FAMILY: CERATOPOGONIDAE (no-see-ums; biting midges)

Fig. 6 – Ceratopogonid larva

Morphology (larvae):

Most common genera are small, thin, and elongate; tapered at both ends (Fig. 6);

Head capsule apparent;

Some with a single thoracic proleg;

Many with setae and tubercles.
Morphology (adults):

M vein branched (wings);

Small, with biting mouthparts in females;

Males with constricted, plumose antennae.

Ecology: collectors and predators; many live on the margins of deep water in silty substrates where they are burrowers.
Utah Genera:

SUBFAMILY Dasyheleinae

Dasyheila (2 or more species). Common; may be present in algae mats; presumably widespread. Utah species are D. grisea and D. mutabilis (?).

SUBFAMILY Forcipomyinae

Atrichopogon. Probably occurs in Utah on wet stones, floating logs, or algae in streams or ponds.

Forcipomyia calcarata (Coquillett). Common; may be aquatic as some species are found in moss, etc. presumably widespread.

SUBFAMILY Ceratopogoninae

Culicoides (about 20 species). Abundant; in a wide variety of ponds rich in organic mater, in fresher edges of Great Salt Lake.

Palpomyia. Occurring in a wide variety of lakes, ponds and streams in the muddy or sandy margins or bottoms, often occurring in algae mats; presumably widespread.

(phantom midges; lake flies; glass worms)

Fig. 7 – Live Chaoboridae larva

Morphology (larvae):

Clear bodied (clouds to white in dead specimens), with silvery air sacs for buoyancy (Fig. 7);

Prehensile, raptorial antennae.

Morphology (adults):

Similar to chironomids, but have longitudinal wing vein R1 ending in C closer to R2 than to Sc.

Ecology: Predators in the plankton of lentic habitats which are usually fish free.
Utah Genera:

Chaoborus americanus (Johannsen). Common to abundant locally in Uinta and Wasatch Mountains; chiefly in small shallow lakes or permanent pools of moderate to large size. Chaoborus punctipennis (Say) and Chaoborus flavicans (Morgan) may also occur in Utah.

Mochlonyx velutinus (Ruthe). Uncommon in Uinta and Wasatch Mountains; in small temporary or semi-permanent pools.

Eucorethra underwoodi Underwood. Uncommon throughout Wasatch and Uinta Mountains; in small to moderate sized semi-permanent or permanent pools, especially in the woods.
Morphology (larvae):

Prothorax with single proleg (Fig. 8);

Prolegs of abdomen complex. (Fig. 9)

Morphology (adults):

Scutellum with midline suture;

Prominent plumose antennae (especially in males);

Front tarsi elongated;

M unbranched in long, narrow wings.
Ecology: Chironomids are the most species rich group of aquatic insects; they are diverse in their life histories and habits as well.

Fig. 8 – Single thoracic proleg of a chironomid

Fig 9 – Chironomid larva

Utah Genera:

SUBFAMILY Tanypodinae

Tanypus (2 or more species). Probably widespread, lakes and streams.

Derotanypus (1 or more species). Northern Utah, lakes and streams.

Allotanypus venustrus Salt Lake County.

Psectrotanypus (4 or more species). Northern Utah.

Thienemannimyia barberi. Green River.

Ablebesmyia (2 or more species). Northern Utah.

Conchepolopia geniodes. Dinosaur Natl. Park

Paramerina (4 or more species). Northern Utah.

Procladius (4 or more species). Ponds and streams, northern Utah.

SUBFAMILY Podonominae

Podonomus (1 or more species). Streams.

SUBFAMILY Diamesinae

Diamesa (8 or more species). Streams, probably widespread.

Pagastia partica. Provo River.

Pseudodiamesa (3 or more species). Common. Probably widespread.

Heptagyia (1 or more species). Uncommon. Streams (Mill Creek).

Prodiamesa (2 or more species). Streams (Mill Creek).

SUBFAMILY Orthocladiinae

Brilla (1 species). Common. Mill Creek.

Eukiefferiella (1 or more species). Uncommon. San Juan and Colorado Rivers.

Nanocladius (16 or more species). Northern Utah, streams (probably widespread).

Orthocladius (10 or more species). Widespread. In streams.

Symbiocladius equitans (Claassen). Widespread. As a commensal or parasite under the wing pads of Rhithrogena mayflies.

Cricotopus (13 or more species). Northern Utah; widespread?

Rheocricotopus (4 or more species). In streams, Northern Utah; widespread?

Psectrocladius (8 or more species). Widespread, streams and rivers.

Corynoneura (2 or more species). Northern Utah, in streams.

SUBFAMILY Chironominae

Chirnomus (10 or more species). Abundant; widespread; lakes, ponds and streams. C. utahensis has very large hatches whenever marshes are ice free along Great Salt Lake.

Cryptochironomus (4 or more species). Northern Utah, widespread? Lakes and marshes.

Dicrotendipes (5 or more species). Northern Utah; widespread? Lakes and streams.

Glyptotendipes (3 or more species). Widespread, marshes.

Microtendipes (2 or more species). Widespread in Utah, lakes and rivers.

Paratendipesi (1 or more species). Uncommon. Widespread.

Phaenopsectra (3 or more species). Northern Utah, creeks, reservoirs and marshes.

Polypedilum (3 or more species). Widespread in Utah, lakes and streams.

Pseudochironomus richardsoni. Northern Utah, marshes.

Stictochironomus (3 or more species). Northern Utah, rivers, lakes and creeks.

Microspectra (5 or more species). Common, Northern Utah, creeks and rivers.

Stempellina (1 or more species). Uncommon, Mill Creek.

Tanytarsus (4 or more species). Widespread in Utah.

Atanytarsus vanderwulpi. Northern Utah.

Rheotanytarsus (1 or more species). Widespread in Utah rivers and creeks.

Zavrelia (1 or more species).
FAMILY: CULICIDAE (mosquitoes)

Fig. 10 - Psorophora larva

Fig 11- Toxorhynchites and Orthopodomyia larvae

Morphology (larvae):

Most with a tubular siphon at the apex of the abdomen (Fig. 10, 11), but not in the tribe Anophelini (Fig. 12, 13));

Mouth brushes prominent;

Thorax fused into a single segment.
Morphology (adults):

Long proboscis;

Scales on wing veins and on the mouthparts of males.
Ecology: Found in stagnant waters, including habitats as small as tree holes or tuna fish cans. They can be very numerous (and thus important) in these habitats. Of course mosquitoes are very important because they are blood feeders that often serve as vectors for serious human and other animal diseases.

Fig. 12 – Anopheles larvae close to the surface because of the highly reduced siphon

Fig. 13 – Anopheles at surface (dorsal view)

Utah Genera:

Aedes (26 species). Abundant; mountains and valleys in temporary pools; widespread.

Anopheles (3 species). Common in valleys at elevations below 7000 ft; in permanent or semi-permanent freshwater pools or marshes; widespread.

Culex (8 species). Abundant in valleys at elevations below 7500 ft, primarily in semi-permanent or permanent pools of marshes. Cx. pipiens and tarsalis also in artificial containers or gutters in urban areas; widespread.

Culiesta (6 species). Abundant in valleys and mountainous areas in semi-permanent or permanent pools.

Mansonia pertubans (Walker). Common locally in valleys along Wasatch front in northern Utah; restricted to permanent ponds and marshes as larvae and pupae respire through air spaces in roots or stems of submerged aquatic vegetation.

Psorophora signipennis (Coquillett). Reported only from Dugway, Utah, where it is uncommon; occurs in temporary desert pools.

Orthopodomyia signifera (Coquillett). Tree-hole species occurring in cottonwoods in southeast Utah.


Fig. 14 – Deuterophlebiid larva (dorsal view)

Fig. 15 – Ventral view

Morphology (larvae):

Seven pairs of prologs projecting ventrolaterally (Fig. 14, 15);

Apices of prologs encircled by transverse rows of hooked spinules (Fig. 15);

Head capsule complete;

Antennae forked, longer than length of head (Fig. 14).
Morphology (pupae):

Small, dark and lense-shaped.
Morphology (adults):

Fan shaped wings;

Males have extremely long antennae.
Ecology: Larvae and pupae are found on the surfaces of rocks in swiftly-flowing streams.
Utah Genera:

Deuterophlebia coloradensis Pennak. Uncommon except locally; on rocks in fast streams; northern Utah (abundant in lower Ashley Creek near Vernal, Utah).
FAMILY: DIXIDAE (meniscus midges)

Fig. 16 – Meringodixa larva

Morphology (larvae):

Paired crochet-bearing prolegs on ventral surface of abdominal segments 1 and 2 (Fig. 17);

Posterior abdomen with two flattened dorsolateral post-spiracular lobes with setose margins (Fig. 16, 18, 19). The lobes project above a conical, dorsally-sclerotized segment bearing the terminal anus and anal papillae;

Thoracic segments individually distinguishable;

Thorax and abdomen about equal in diameter or abdomen wider;

Setae on thoracic and abdominal segments not tufted and anal fan of terminal segment absent.

Ecology: Larvae live on the surface films of freshwater streams and ponds. Posterior and dorsal setae allow the larvae to cling to surface film (Fig. 16).

Fig 17 – Abdominal prolegs (ventral side up)

Fig. 18 – Posterior abdominal lobes (dorsal)

Fig. 19 – Posterior abdominal lobes (ventral)

Utah Genera:

Dixella (3 species). Common; on the surface films of freshwater streams and ponds; widespread.

Dixa. Almost certainly occurs in Utah. Reported by Paul Adams from Mill Creek.

Meringodixa – Wasatch county, (and?)
FAMILY: PSYCHODIDAE (moth flies or drain flies)

Morphology (larvae):

All body segments divided into 2 or 3 subdivisions with some or all of these bearing dorsal sclerotized plates (Fig. 20, 21); remaining integument with dark spots which, with the plates, give a grayish brown appearance to the larva;

At most, only a single anal proleg present (Fig. 21);

Thoracic segments individually distinguishable; Thorax and abdomen about equal in diametder or abdomen wider;

Setae on thoracic and abdominal segments not tufted and anal fan of terminal segment absent;

Posterior abdominal segments lacking long filamentous processes (compare to Tanyderidae)

Amphipneustic respiratory structures; posterior spiracles usually at apex of a relatively short respiratory tube.
Ecology: larvae often live in aquatic habitats with low oxygen levels, including bathroom sinks.

Fig. 20 – Pericoma larva

Fig. 21

Utah Genera:

Maruina (1 or more species). On wet rocks in spray of fast-flowing streams.

Psychoda (1 or more species). Often found in polluted waters, water treatment plant trickling filters, and in household drains, etc.

Pericoma (1 or more species). Uncommon; Mill Creek.

Telmatoscopus (1 or more species). Uncommon; Mill Creek.
FAMILY: PTYCHOPTERIDAE (phantom crane flies)

Fig. 22 – Ptychopterid larva

Morphology (larvae):

Very long long siphon with terminal spiracle and two projections at apex

of abdomen (Fig. 22);

First three segments of abdomen bearing prominent prolegs.

Multiple ridges and papillae on abdomen.

Morphology (adults):

Haltere with a projection at base called the prehaltere;

R vein with four branches (wings).
Ecology: Collectors and shredders in mucky backwaters with leaf litter and organic matter.
Utah Genera:

Bittacomorpha clavipes (Fabricius). Uncommon; larvae in shallow water heavily filled with vegetation; northern Wasatch and Uinta Mountains. Larvae from Butte Creek and Whiskey Spring in Daniels Canyon.

Ptychoptera (3 species). Widespread in mountains of northern and central Utah. Utah species are P. lania Osten Sacken, P. pendula Alexander, and P. uta Alexander.
FAMILY: SIMULIIDAE (black flies)

Fig. 23 – Prosimulium larva

Fig. 24 – Simulium larva

Morphology (larvae):

Body club-shaped, with largest end at the tip of abdomen (Fig. 23);

Cephalic fans (Fig 24).

Morphology (adults):

Very stocky and hump backed:

Wings broad, anterior veins strgon with posterior veins weak and poorly developed.
Ecology: Collectors in currents of lotic habitats, filtering out fine particulate organic matter; prefer the strongest part of the current; compete for territory; they use silk to attach to substrates sometimes extending long lines to drift into the current before reeling themselves back in..
Utah Genera:

Cnephia (4 species). Uncommon except locally in mountain streams of northern Utah.

Eusimulium (7species). Abundant; in running waters; widespread.

Prosimulium (8 species). Abundant; in running waters; widespread.

Simulium (22 species). Abundant; in running waters; esp. some temporary streams; widespread.

Twinnia nova Dyar and Shannon. Rare; one specimen reported from an unknown Utah locality.
FAMILY: TANYDERIDAE (primitive crane flies)

Fig. 25

Fig. 26 – Terminal abdominal segments

Morphology (larvae):

Last two abdominal segments with pairs long filamentous processes (Fig. 25, 26) arising laterally on the next to last segment, dorsolaterally on the anal segment (near the apex of prolegs);

Prolegs (2) on anal segment only; prolegs elongate and cylindracal, projecting posteroventrally;

Thoracic segments individually distinguishable. Thorax and abdomen about equal in diameter or abdomen wider;

Setae on thoracic and abdominal segment not tufted and anal fan of terminal segment absent.
Ecology: semi-aquatic in habits. Larvae often found in wet rotten wood, or in sandy stream margins; adults on riparian vegetation.

Utah Genera:

Protanyderus margarita Alexander. Uncommon; small streams with rock and sand bottoms; the adult was described from Zion National Park, Utah; larvae have been collected from the Virgin River at Springdale in October.
FAMILY: TIPULIDAE (crane flies)

Fig. 27 – Hexatoma larva

Morphology (larvae):

Posterior spiracles usually bordered by 1-3 or 5-7 pairs of short lobes that are often fringed with short to long hairs (Fig 28, 29);

Head capusule stongly sclerotized, but often partially to fully retracted within thorax (Fig. 27, 30);

Head capsule usually with longitudinal incisions of varying depths dorsolaterally.

Morphology (adults):

V” on mesonotum;

Many veins in wings; R usually with 5 branches;

Long, slender legs which break off easily.

Ecology: Shredders, scrapers, and predators; many live in rich black muck in marshes and near springs; some live in creeks and streams; they can be very numerous in leaf packs (and thus important as shredders).

Fig. 28 – Prionocera terminal segments

Fig. 29 – Holorusia terminal segments

Fig. 30 – Partially retracted head capsule of a Prionocera larva

Utah Genera:

Antocha monticola Alexander. Common; abundant locally in silken cases on rocks in cool streams; north and central Utah mountains.

Cryptolabis (3 species). Uncommon; widespread. Found in sand in clear, cold streams.

Dactylolabis knowltoni Alexander. Uncommon; on wet seeps and walls; northern Utah mountains.

Dicranota (8 species). Common; found in mud and in streams; northern Utah.

Elliptera astigmatica Alexander. Uncommon; on wet mossy surfaces at falls and seeps; central Utah.

Erioptera (26 species). Common; some species in wet sand or mud; widespread.

Gonomyia (18 species). Common; in wet mud and sand at edge of streams; widespread.

Hexatoma (3 species). Common; in streams and rivers; the mature larvae on the wet banks; widespread in mountains.

Holorusia grandis (update species name for this) (Bergoth). Common; in a wide variety of streams in silty areas and in dense leaf packs; widespread.

Linophila (1 or more species). Reported from Huntington Creek by Winget (1972).

Limonia (21 species). Common; widespread. At edges of ponds, lakes and streams.

Pedicia (2 species). Common; edges, in streams and brooks, saturated leaves and moss; northern and central Utah.

Phyllolabis zionensis Alexander. Uncommon; known only from Zion National Park, Utah. May not be aquatic.

Prionocera uinticola (Alexander). Uncommon; probably in heavily vegetated ponds; Uinta mountains.

Tipula (51 or more species). Abundant; in streams at muddy margins and in numerous non-aquatic habitats; widespread.

(short-horned flies)

Morphology (larvae):

Most with head and mouthparts reduced to mouth hooks called cephalopharyngeal complex, but prominent exceptions exist, especially in the “Middle” Brachycera like Tabanidae and Stratiomyidae.

Mandibles are opposed, but slide forward and back parallel to the main axis of the body, they do not open and close laterally as with Nematocera.
Morphology (adults):

Generally 3 to 6 antennal segments;

Usually stout flies.
FAMILY: ATHERICIDAE (formerly Rhagionidae; snipe flies)

Fig. 31 – Atherix larva

Fig. 32 – Reduced head capsule

Morphology (larvae):

Distinct pairs of prolegs on most abdominal segments (Fig. 31);

Abdominal terminus with two fleshy projections in the dorsoventral plane which have a prominent row of long hairs, especially along inner margins(Fig. 31);

Head capsule not prominent (Fig. 31, 32).

Morphology (adults):

Stocky, medium sized flies with three pads associated with each tarsus (as in Rhagionidae sensu stricto).
Ecology: predators in current, most often in gravel and cobble.
Utah Genus:

Atherix variegata Walker. Abundant; occurring in a wide variety of streams; widespread.
FAMILY: Dolichopodidae (long-legged flies)
Morphology (larvae):

Head capsule reduced to a pair of slender metacephalic rods (expanded posteriorly) which, with tentorial rods, articulate with anterior cephalic sclerites;

Submental plate and brushes of bristles above mandibles absent;

Metapneustic. Posterior spiracles situated at the base of upper 2 of 4 smooth primary lobes of last abdominal segment;

Transverse ventral creeping welts present on abdominal segments.
+Morphology (adults):

Heart-shaped head with relatively armored mouthparts;

Often metallic coloration;

Long legs;

r-m basal, usually in the first ¼ of wing.

Ecology: One of the largest families of flies; adults are predatory.

Fig. 33 – Reduced head capsule.

Fig. 34

Fig. 35 – Transverse ventral creeping welts on abdomen.

Utah Genera:

Larvae have been collected from Mill Creek Canyon (Adams, 1976) and from Provo River in Provo Canyon (October).

FAMILY: EMPIDIDAE (dagger flies and ballon flies)
Morphology (larvae):

Head capsule reduced to a pair of slender metacephalic rods (slender posteriorly) which, with tentorial rods, articulate with anterior cephalic sclerites.

Submental plate and brushes of bristles above mandibles absent.

Larva usually apneustic; if metapneustic, then posterior segment with only a single lobe below spiracles;

Terminal abdominal segment with 1-4 round lobes bearing apical setae, and abdominal segments bearing paired prolegs with apical crochets (Fig. 37);

Abdominal segments with ventral creeping welts.

Ecology: Larvae are generally predaceous, although there are scavengers. Taxonomists are beginning to classify Empididae as a subfamily of Dolichopodidae.

Fig. 36 – Hemerodromia larva

Fig. 37 – Terminal segments and prolegs

Utah Genera:

A Utah species of this family has been reported in drift from Mil Creek. It was identified as Wiedemannia (Adams, 1976), which is indicated by Merritt and Cummings as an Eastern species.


Fig. 38 – Euparyphus larva

Morphology (larvae):

Head capsule heavily sclerotized, readily apparent; usually not retractile (Fig. 38);

Body armored with reticulate sclerotization and calcium deposits.
Morphology (adults):

Small flies; many mimic stinging Hymenoptera, while others are metallic green;

Closed discal cells (small), with radiating veins distally (wings).
Ecology: collectors in slow current areas or pools or vertical wet wall hanging gardens.
Utah Genera:

Adoxomyia (1 or more species). Uncommon; possibly aquatic; northern Utah.

Euparyphus (4 or more species). Common; found in wet moss, algae, and on mud, in and beside small streams and ponds, widespread.

Nemotelus (5 or more species). Common; one species found in hot springs; widespread.

Odontomyia (4 or more species). Common; occurring in muddy sluggish streams and ponds, feeding on algae or organic matter; presumably widespread.

Myxosargus (1 or more species). Uncommon; widespread.

Stratiomys (9 or more species). Common; found in a wide variety of ponds, streams, saline pools, and hot springs; widespread.
FAMILY: TABANIDAE (horse flies or deer flies)

Fig. 39 – Tabanus larva.

Morphology (larvae):

Head capsule still apparent, but very small;

Most with abdominal segments bearing encircling creeping welts, some of which have prominent tubercles (Fig. 39, 2).
Morphology (adults):

Apical cell broadly open with R4 and R5 creating a V-shaped cell;

Males holoptic, females dichoptic;

Third antennal segment elongate.

Ecology: Predators; many live on the margins of deep water in silty substrates where they are burrowers, others live in gravel.
Utah Genera:

Apatolestes (1 or more species). Widespread.

Chrysops (12 or more species). Abundant; widespread.

Pangonia (1 or more species). Widespread.

Sylvius (2 or more species). Widespread.

Atylotus (2 or more species). Widespread.

Haematopota (1 or more species). Presumably widespread.

Stenotabanus (1 or more species). Common; widespread.

Tabanus (28 species). Abundant; widespread.

(circular-seamed flies)

Morphology (larvae):

Head and mouthparts reduced to mouth hooks which project forward, side-by-side and parallel to each other; Mouthparts do not articulate laterally in a biting motion, but rather in opposition to each other, in dorsoventrally tearing motions.

Morphology (adults):

Aristate antennae

Rs bifurcate

(hover flies, flower flies, rat-tailed maggots)

Fig. 40 – Rat-tailed maggot

Morphology (larvae):

Aquatic forms have a very long projection bearing the terminal spiracles at the end of the abdomen; (This is superficially somewhat similar to Ptychopteridae, but Syrphids do not have a sclerotized head.)
Morphology (adults):

Spurious vein that divides crossvein r-m;

R veins sinuate;

Most are mimics of stinging Hymenoptera.
Ecology: collectors in habitats very rich in organic matter, including in pools of urine and manure near cattle feedlots; others can be in more savory, but still lentic habitats.
Utah Genera:

Chrysogaster (8 species). Larvae of this genus have been recorded as being aquatic although few if any have been collected in Utah.

Eristalis (10 species). Uncommon; occurring in shallow pools of generally polluted ponds; widespread.

Helophilus (9 species). Larvae of this genus have been reported as being aquatic although few if any have been collected in Utah.
Morphology (adults):

Schyzophorous flies, without a transverse suture across mesonotum, without calypteres, without dorsal longitudinal suture on pedicel;

Greater ampulla absent.
FAMILY: Ephydridae (shore flies, brine flies)

Fig. 41
Morphology (larvae):

Terminal abdominal segment tapered, often bearing a short to moderately long retractile respiratory tube bearing the spiracles (Fig. 41)
Morphology (adults):

Lower face strongly projecting (in many genera);

Humeral and subcostal breaks in C.

Ecology: usually near margins of water. Shore flies have an incredible diversity of food habits which cross all functional feeding groups.
Utah Genera:

SUBFAMILY Ephydrinae

Coenia (4 species). Common; occurring in saline marsh ponds feeding on floating organic matter; widespread in lowlands.

Ephydra, several species including two abundant in the Great Salt Lake.

Hydropyrus (7 species). Abundant; occurring in saline pools and in Great Salt Lake; widespread.

Scatella (9 species). Abundant; occurring in saline and alkaline pools, and other ponds and pools; widespread over a wide elevational range.

Scatophila despecta (Haliday). Uncommon; one species known on wet rocks and in greenhouses; Kane County.

Setacera needhami Johansen. Uncommon; apparently limited to fresh water; northern Utah.

SUBFAMILY Parydrinae

Brachydeutera (1 or more species). Reported by G. Musser (1959) from Glen Canyon area. Larvae at edges of ponds.

Hyadina (3 or more species). Common; widespread. Larvae feed on blue-green algae at stream or pond margins.

Ochthera mantis mantis (DeGeer). Abundant; saline and alkaline marsh pools; widespread. Larvae in ponds, predators on midge larvae.

Pelina (3 or more species). Abundant; widespread. Larvae feed on blue-green algae at lake or pond margins.

SUBFAMILY Notiphilinae

Dichaeta caudate (Fallen). Common; burrowers in freshwater lakes, streams and pools; widespread.

Hydrellia (4 or more species). Common; leaf miners in aquatic and sub aquatic plants, especially Potamogeton; widespread.

(Ilythea may occur in Utah.)

Notiphila (10 species). Common; in silt in the bottom of ponds, lakes and streams, and obtain oxygen by inserting hollow spines in the roots of aquatic plants; widespread at lower elevations.

Paralimna punctipennis (Wiedemann). Uncommon; reported as occurring in Utah, larvae in mud at pond margins.

Typopsilopa atra (Loew). Uncommon; widespread. Larvae is detritus at pond margins.

SUBFAMILY Psilopinae

Allotrichoma (1 or 2 species). Common; widespread. Burrowers. (One species known to breed in pig manure.)

Athyroglossa (2 species). Uncommon; possibly occurring in damp earth along mountain streams; widespread.

Atissa litoralis (Cole). Uncommon; reported as occurring in saline ponds around Salt Lake City.

Clanoneurum americanum Cresson. Uncommon, possibly salt marsh or leaf miners, northern Utah.

Discocerina (3 species). Uncommon, in moss or algae, widespread.
Morphology (larvae):

External sclerotized portions of head capsule absent;

Head reduced to an internal cephalopharyngeal skeleton of rather characteristic form of a sclerotized ventral arch below base of mouth hooks, its anterior margin usually toothed.

Posterior spiracular plates always distinctly separated whether mounted on a telescopic respiratory tube or not.

Anterior spiracles absent or bearing 2 or more short or branched papillae;

Posterior spiracles with openings usually arranged in parallel or radiating pattern;

Body segments often extensively covered with short, fine spiracles that are only slightly elevated.
Morphology (adults):

Prominent eyes and forward projecting antennae;

Elongated second antennal segment (pedicel);

Generally slender (0.5 – 1.0 cm);

Yellowish to brownish (often), with mottled wing coloration.
Ecology: predatory or parasitc on slugs and freshwater snails. Adults are nectar feeders. Found in ponds, streams and marshes.
Utah Genera:

Tetanocera. Fairly common in pools rich in organic matter and with muddy bottoms; probably widespread. The larvae burrow in snails.

Dictya. Reported from Glen Canyon by G. Musser (1959). The larvae burrow in snails.
Morphology (adults):

Schyzophorous flies with calypteres, with longitudinal dorsal suture on pedicel, and with transverse suture on mesonotum;

Greater ampulla present as bulbous swelling below wing base.
FAMILY: MUSCIDAE (house flies)
Morphology (larvae):

Maggots, lacking a defined head and few features elsewhere.

Morphology (adults):

Four stripes, if thorax striped.

No meral bristles;

Cu2 + 2A ending before hind margin of wing;

A1 doesn’t reach wing margin;

No fine hairs hanging from scutellum;

Ecology: predators in both lentic and lotic habitats.
Utah Genera:

Limnophora. Common locally in some streams; otherwise, widespread.


Edmunds, G. F., Jr. 1986. An annotated generic check-list of aquatic and semi-aquatic insects of Utah. University of Utah. Unpublished class handout.

Hanson, W. J. 1982. Identification notes for aquatic entomology. Utah State University. Unpublished class handout.

Merritt, Cummings, and Berg. 2008. Aquatic Insects of North America, 4th edition.

Nelson, C. R. 1998. Diptera. University of Texas. Unpublished class handout..

All photographs from C.R. Nelson. All photos from Invertebrate ID CD (Nelson, 2006) except Figures 1-3,11-13, 16, 22, & 40.

Editorial History:

Pre-2006: Class handouts from C.R. Nelson (1998), consulting Edmunds (1986), and Hanson (1982).

2006: Compiled and revised by G. Hughes and G. Hughes

2008: edited, with additional information from Merritt, Cummings and Berg (2008), and addition of photographs by D. J. Betts.

File name: Diptera lab sheet 2008.doc

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