DipteraDiptera – image index Flies Pollinators and Flies The Eyes of Flies Australian Sheep Blowfly (Lucilia cuprina) Australian Drain Fly Balaana Beefly Bat Flies Bee Flies Bee Fly (Anthrax) Ligyra Australiphthiria Chrysomya saffranea Eristalinus punctulatus Musca Odontomyia (Soldier Flies) Hermetia illucens (Black Soldier Fly) Robber Flies Sarcophaga aurifrons Soldier Fly Syrphids

— also see Syrphidae

The Order Diptera (true flies) is derived from the Greek di – “two”, and pteron “wing”, with insects of this order using only a single pair of wings to fly. The hindwings having evolved into advanced mechanosensory organs known as halteres, which act as high-speed sensors of rotational movement and allow dipterans to perform advanced aerobatics.1

Sarcophaga aurifrons (Grey-striped Fly), Alice Springs, NT
Sarcophaga aurifrons (Grey-striped Fly), Alice Springs, NT

Diptera is a large order that is estimated to contain an estimated 1,000,000 species, although only about 125,000 species have currently been described.

Included in this group are many insects commonly known as mosquitoes, midges, sand flies, blowflies, crane flies, hoverflies and the house fly.

Balaana Beefly (Balaana abscondita), Alice Springs, NT
Balaana Beefly (Balaana abscondita), Alice Springs, NT

Some of the common characteristics of the order Diptera include2:

  • One pair of wings (forewings)
  • Hindwings reduced to club-like halteres
  • A large and moveable head
  • Compound eyes that are often very large
  • Sucking, piercing and sucking or sponge-like mouthparts (all adapted for a liquid diet)
  • The mesothorax (middle segment of the thorax or mid-body) is enlarged, with the prothorax and metathorax small
  • Complete metamorphosis, with larvae (maggots) that are always legless, with chewing mouthparts or mouth-hooks, and that often pupate within a hardened case (puparium)
Steelblue Bluebottle (Chrysomya saffranea)
Steelblue Bluebottle (Chrysomya saffranea), Alice Springs, NT
Australian Desert Rose (Gossypium australe) with Australiphthiria sp, Alice Springs Desert Park NT
Australian Desert Rose (Gossypium australe) with Australiphthiria sp, Alice Springs Desert Park NT

Check out some of our listed information on flies:

Agapophytus yeatesi (Stiletto Fly), Alice Springs NT
Agapophytus yeatesi (Stiletto Fly), Alice Springs NT
Golden Native Drone Fly (Eristalinus punctulatus) rescued from a swimming pool in Alice Springs NT
Female Golden Native Drone Fly (Eristalinus punctulatus), Alice Springs NT

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Superorder: Panorpida
  • (unranked): Antliophora
  • Order: Diptera
Steelblue Bluebottle (Chrysomya saffranea)
Steelblue Bluebottle (Chrysomya saffranea), Alice Springs, NT

Footnote & References

  1. Fly, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly (last visited Feb. 12, 2022)
  2. Diptera, Linnaeus, 1758, Flies, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn%3Alsid%3Abiodiversity.org.au%3Aafd.taxon%3A6bb27cbe-1bc6-4a7b-b348-e3b5677f239f
  3. Flies Order Diptera, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/47822-Diptera
  4. Flies and mosquitoes: Order Diptera, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/insects/flies-and-mosquitoes-order-diptera/
  5. Flies, CSIRO, https://www.csiro.au/en/research/animals/insects/flies-research
  6. Diptera (Flies), Field Guide to the Insects of Tasmania, https://tasmanianinsectfieldguide.com/hexapoda/insectsoftasmaniadiptera/

DipteraDiptera – image index Flies Pollinators and Flies The Eyes of Flies Australian Sheep Blowfly (Lucilia cuprina) Australian Drain Fly Balaana Beefly Bat Flies Bee Flies Bee Fly (Anthrax) Ligyra Australiphthiria Chrysomya saffranea Eristalinus punctulatus Musca Odontomyia (Soldier Flies) Hermetia illucens (Black Soldier Fly) Robber Flies Sarcophaga aurifrons Soldier Fly Syrphids

InsectsBees Beetles Blattodea Butterflies Coleoptera Cicada Crabronidae Diptera Dragonflies & Damselflies Formicidae Hemiptera Heteroptera (True Bugs) Mango Planthopper Moths Orthoptera Orthopteroid Processionary Caterpillar Stink Bugs, Shield Bugs and Allies Syrphidae Wasps Water Scorpion (Laccotrephes tristis) Witchetty Grub