Overview

Comprehensive Description

Only one pair of wings. Second pair (hind wings) developed as halteres.

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Distribution

Geographic Range

Flies are one of the most diverse groups of insects. There are over 150,000 species known from around the world, and there are certainly many still undiscovered. In the Great Lakes region there are probably over 2,000 species

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native ); neotropical (Native ); australian (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

There are many different shapes of True Flies. They are soft-bodied insects, most are fairly small (less than 1.5 cm long) but a few can be larger (up to 4 cm!). Adult flies have only 1 pair of wings, unlike other insects. The second pair has evolved into small balancing organs that look like little clubs. Adult flies feed on liquids and have either thin sucking mouthparts (like Mosquitos) or sponging mouthparts, a tube with wider sponge at the end (like Flower Flies and House Flies). Most adult flies have large eyes, to help them see when they are flying. Many adult flies look like wasps or bees. Sometimes they look a lot like The larvae of True Flies all look like thick segmented worms, but they have many different shapes. They don't have jointed legs, unlike beetle larvae. Some have mouthparts and a distinct head, but most don't. The pupal stage of a True Fly is covered with tough skin. It may have some of its legs and body parts visible, or it may be hidden inside a larval skin, and just look like a brown capsule.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; female larger; male more colorful; sexes shaped differently

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Ecology

Habitat

True Flies can be found almost anywhere. Adults of many species are strong fliers, which helps them locate supplies of food for their larvae. Fly larvae are most common in damp habitats, and flies populations are largest in humid places with lots of moisture.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; polar ; terrestrial ; freshwater

Terrestrial Biomes: tundra ; taiga ; desert or dune ; chaparral ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams

Wetlands: marsh ; swamp ; bog

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Adult flies often drink nectar. Some feed on any liquid that has nutrients. They also can "spit" onto dry food and then suck up the spit and some extra nourishment from the dry food. This is how they contaminate human food. Some female flies drink vertebrate blood, such as from Mammalia to get the protein they need for their eggs. A few adults are predators, they grab other Insecta, stab them with their mouthparts and suck out their blood and organs.

Many flies do most of their feeding as larvae. Some eat fungi or plants, especially fruit. Some lay their eggs in the stems or leaves, and they larvae give off chemicals that make the plant swell up into a gall. This protects the fly larva and gives it plenty to eat. Other species eat dead animals, and many eat dung. Some filter microscopic food particles from freshwater water. One big group of flies is parasitic. They lay their eggs inside or on Insecta and Araneae, and the larvae feed on the inside of their host while it is still alive! A few species are parasites of vertebrates, such as Mammalia and Aves, and get in wounds or under the skin.

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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / pathogen
Batkoa apiculata infects live adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Batkoa papillata infects live adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Conidiobolus thromboides infects live adult of Diptera

Animal / parasitoid
solitary (usually) stroma of Cordyceps forquignonii is parasitoid of dead, on ground Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crabro cribrarius stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crabro peltarius stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus binotatus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus capitosus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus exiguus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus megacephalus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus pusillus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus quadrimaculatus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus wesmaeli stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Cylindrodendrum anamorph of Cylindrodendrum suffultum infects pupa of Diptera

Fungus / feeder
Diptera feeds on spore mass of fruitbody of Phallus hadriani

Plant / pollenated
adult of Diptera pollenates or fertilises flower of Dactylorhiza maculata

Fungus / gall
larva of Diptera causes galls on Daedalea quercina

Fungus / gall
larva of Diptera causes galls on fruitbody of Conocybe

Animal / predator
leaf of Drosera rotundifolia is predator of Diptera
Other: major host/prey

Animal / predator
nymph of Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus is predator of Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius borealis stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius cavifrons stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius cephalotes stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius continuus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius dives stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius lapidarius stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius lituratus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius rubicola stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius ruficornis stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Ectemnius sexcinctus stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Entomophthora culicis infects live adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Entomophthora muscae infects live adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
pure white to grey or rarely green, shaggy rhizoids of Erynia conica infects adult of Diptera
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Animal / pathogen
Erynia gracilis infects live adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Erynia radicans infects live Diptera

Animal / pathogen
white to grey swollen rhizoids of Erynia rhizospora infects white to grey swollen rhizoids of adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Furia americana infects adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Furia montana infects adult of Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Lindenius albilabris stocks nest with Diptera

Animal / predator
nymph of Loricula elegantula is predator of larva of Diptera

Animal / predator
nymph of Orthotylus tenellus is predator of Diptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Oxybelus uniglumis stocks nest with larva of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
few, large, white or greenish, disk-ended rhizoids of Pandora dipterigena infects adult of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Pandora echinospora infects adult of Diptera

Animal / predator
leaf of Pinguicula vulgaris is predator of adult of Diptera
Other: major host/prey

Animal / associate
synnematum of Polycephalomyces anamorph of Polycephalomyces ramosus is associated with Diptera
Other: major host/prey

Animal / predator
nymph of Reduvius personatus is predator of Diptera

Animal / parasite
Tolypocladium anamorph of Tolypocladium cylindrosporum parasitises live larva of Diptera

Animal / parasitoid
perithecium of Torrubiella albotomentosa is parasitoid of pupa of Diptera

Animal / pathogen
Zoophthora radicans infects live adult of Diptera

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Ecosystem Roles

Some flies are imporant pollinators. Many fly larvae are part of the natural 'clean-up squad', helping get rid of dung and dead animals. Flies are important food sources for many other animals.

Ecosystem Impact: pollinates; biodegradation

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Predation

Adult flies avoid predators with their speed and alertness. Also, many flies mimic stinging insects such as wasps or bees, so predators will avoid them. Larvae often live in places that are hard to reach.

Known Predators:

  • Rodentia (eat pupae)
  • Soricidae (larvae and pupae)
  • Talpidae (larvae and pupae)
  • Aves
  • Anura (mostly adult flies)
  • Anura (mostly adult flies)
  • Araneae
  • Formicidae
  • Hymenoptera
  • other Diptera 
  • Heteroptera
  • Carabidae (larvae and pupae)

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Known predators

Diptera (Dipteran larvae) is prey of:
Lagopus
Plectrophenax nivalis
Calidris maritima
Araneae
Stercorarius
Larus hyperboreus
Somateria
Gavia stellata
Clangula hyemalis
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus
Bartramia longicauda
Sturnella neglecta
Pooecetes gramineus
Spizella passerina
Spizella pallida
Eremophila alpestris
Corvus
Anura
Thamnophis
Amia calva
Lepisosteidae
Esox
Ardeidae
Threskiornithidae
Passerina cyanea
Hylocichla mustelina
Arachnida
Geothlypis trichas
Picoides pubescens
Myiarchus
Baeolophus bicolor
Vireo olivaceus
Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Rhinogobius flumineus
Cobitis biwae
Cottus pollux
Maroco jouyi
Oncorhynchus rhodurus
Gomphus
Actinopterygii
Aves
Leucosticte atrata
Anthus spinoletta
Coleoptera
Scolopacidae
Tyrannidae
Apodidae
Scorpiones
Geococcyx velox
Clarias gariepinus
Alestes imberi
Marcusenios macrolepidotus
Mormyrus longirostris
Haplochromis darlingi
Tilapia rendalli
Hydrocynus vittatus
Ocypode
Charadriiformes
Brachystosternus
Tropidurus
Chiroptera
Hirundinidae
Chordeiles
Geositta
Calcarius mccownii
Calcarius ornatus
Calamospiza melanocorys
Asilidae
Peromyscus maniculatus
Orthoptera
Conomyrma bicolor
Pheidole
Novomessor cockerelli
Crematogaster clara
Iridomyrmex pruinosum
Salvelinus fontinalis
Eucalia inconstans
Salmo salar
Phoxinus phoxinus
Otus nudipes
Amphisbaena caeca
Herpestes auropunctatus
Eleutherodactylus coqui
Eleutherodactylus richmondi
Eleutherodactylus portoricensis
Eleutherodactylus wightmanae
Eleutherodactylus eneidae
Eleutherodactylus hedricki
Todus mexicanus
Anolis cuvieri
Anolis evermanni
Anolis stratulus
Anolis gundlachi
Leptodactylus albilabris
Myiarchus antillarum
Vireo latimeri
Icterus dominicensis
Vireo altiloquus
Seiurus motacilla
Sphaerodactylus klauberi
Sphaerodactylus macrolepis
Diploglossus pleei
Chlorostilbon maugeus
Anthracothorax viridis
Parula americana
Dendroica caerulescens
Dendroica discolor
Setophaga ruticilla
Opiliones
Odonata
Gonatista grisea
Hymenoptera
Margarops fuscatus
Tyrannus dominicensis
Dendroica petechia
Loxigilla noctis
Trochilidae
Coereba flaveola
Anolis gingivinus
Anolis pogus
Hemiptera
Chilopoda
Platichthys flesus

Based on studies in:
Norway: Spitsbergen (Coastal)
Canada: Manitoba (Grassland)
USA: Alaska (Tundra)
USA: Arizona, Sonora Desert (Desert or dune)
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)
USA: Montana (Tundra)
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)
USA: Florida, South Florida (Swamp)
USA: Illinois (Forest)
Japan (River)
USA: Iowa, Mississippi River (River)
Uganda (Lake or pond)
Africa, Lake McIlwaine (Lake or pond)
Peru (Coastal)
USA: Texas, Franklin Mtns (Carrion substrate)
Canada: Ontario, Mad River (River)
Wales, Dee River (River)
Scotland (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • A. C. Twomey, The bird population of an elm-maple forest with special reference to aspection, territorialism, and coactions, Ecol. Monogr. 15(2):175-205, from p. 202 (1945).
  • B. E. Marshall, The fish of Lake McIlwaine. In Lake McIlwaine: the eutrophication and recovery of a tropical man-made lake (J. A. Thornton, Ed.) Vol 49 Monographia Biologicae, D. W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 156-188, from p. 180 (1982).
  • C. A. Carlson, Summer bottom fauna of the Mississippi River, above Dam 19, Keokuk, Iowa, Ecology 49(1):162-168, from p. 167 (1968).
  • D. L. Pattie and N. A. M. Verbeek, Alpine birds of the Beartooth Mountains, Condor 68:167-176 (1966); Alpine mammals of the Beartooth Mountains, Northwest Sci. 41(3):110-117 (1967).
  • H. W. Koepcke and M. Koepcke, Sobre el proceso de transformacion de la materia organica en las playas arenosas marinas del Peru. Publ. Univ. Nac. Mayer San Marcos, Zoologie Serie A, No. 8, from p. 24 (1952).
  • Hall SJ, Raffaelli D (1991) Food-web patterns: lessons from a species-rich web. J Anim Ecol 60:823–842
  • Huxham M, Beany S, Raffaelli D (1996) Do parasites reduce the chances of triangulation in a real food web? Oikos 76:284–300
  • J. Brown, Ecological investigations of the Tundra biome in the Prudhoe Bay Region, Alaska, Special Report, no. 2, Biol. Pap. Univ. Alaska (1975), from p. xiv.
  • K. Schoenly and W. Reid, 1983. Community structure of carrion arthropods in the Chihuahuan Desert. J. Arid Environ. 6:253-263, from pp. 256-58 & unpub. material.
  • L. D. Harris and G. B. Bowman, Vertebrate predator subsystem. In: Grasslands, Systems Analysis and Man, A. I. Breymeyer and G. M. Van Dyne, Eds. (International Biological Programme Series, no. 19, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, England, 1980), pp. 591-
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
  • M. J. Burgis, I. G. Dunn, G. G. Ganf, L. M. McGowan and A. B. Viner, Lake George, Uganda: Studies on a tropical freshwater ecosystem. In: Productivity Problems of Freshwaters, Z. Kajak and A. Hillbricht-Ilkowska, Eds. (Polish Scientific, Warsaw, 1972), p
  • M. Tsuda, Interim results of the Yoshino River productivity survey, especially on benthic animals. In: Productivity Problems of Freshwaters, Z. Kajak and A. Hillbricht-Ilkowska, Eds. (Polish Scientific, Warsaw, 1972), pp. 827-841, from p. 839.
  • P. G. Howes, The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World: A Brief Biology of the Giant Cactus Forest of Our American Southwest (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, New York; Little, Brown, Boston; 1954), from pp. 222-239, from p. 227.
  • R. D. Bird, Biotic communities of the Aspen Parkland of central Canada, Ecology, 11:356-442, from p. 383 (1930).
  • R. M. Badcock, 1949. Studies in stream life in tributaries of the Welsh Dee. J. Anim. Ecol. 18:193-208, from pp. 202-206 and Price, P. W., 1984, Insect Ecology, 2nd ed., New York: John Wiley, p. 23
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Contributions to the ecology of Spitsbergen and Bear Island, J. Ecol. 11:214-286, from p. 232 (1923).
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Further contributions to the ecology of Spitzbergen, J. Ecol. 16:193-268, from p. 211 (1928).
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Further contributions to the ecology of Spitzbergen, J. Ecol. 16:193-268, from p. 217 (1928).
  • W. E. Ricker, 1934. An ecological classification of certain Ontario streams. Univ. Toronto Studies, Biol. Serv. 37, Publ. Ontario Fish. Res. Lab. 49:7-114, from pp. 78, 89.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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Known prey organisms

Diptera (Dipteran larvae) preys on:
dead plants

algae
Helianthus
Agropyron
Stipa
humus
Plectoptera
Odonata
Hemiptera
sap and plant juices
lichens
Bryophyta
phanerogams
Oligochaeta
Chironomidae
zooplankton
Asplanchna
Mesocyclops
alpine vegetation
willows
sedges
grasses
detritus
fungi
bacteria
carcass
Aves
Artemisia frigida
Gutierrezia
Ratibida columnifera
Mirabilis
Ericameria nauseosa
Cleome serrulata
Liatris punctata
Descurainia pinnata
Atriplex canescens
Elymus elymoides
Picradeniopsis oppositifolia
Opuntia macrorhiza
Thelesperma filifolium
Senecio vulgaris
Margarops fuscatus
Coleoptera
Hymenoptera
Orthoptera
Amazona vittata
Isoptera
Auchenorrhyncha
Sternorrhyncha
Lepidoptera
Herpestes auropunctatus
Eleutherodactylus coqui
Eleutherodactylus richmondi
Eleutherodactylus portoricensis
Eleutherodactylus wightmanae
Eleutherodactylus eneidae
Eleutherodactylus hedricki
Melanerpes portoricensis
Todus mexicanus
Mimocichla plumbea
Anolis cuvieri
Anolis evermanni
Anolis stratulus
Anolis gundlachi
Alsophis portoricensis
Leptodactylus albilabris
Myiarchus antillarum
Vireo latimeri
Nesospingus speculiferus
Icterus dominicensis
Vireo altiloquus
Seiurus aurocapillus
Seiurus motacilla
Rattus rattus
Bufo marinus
Chlorostilbon maugeus
Anthracothorax viridis
Mniotilta varia
Parula americana
Dendroica tigrina
Dendroica caerulescens
Dendroica discolor
Dendroica angelae
Setophaga ruticilla
Coereba flaveola
Loxigilla portoricensis
Eptesicus fuscus
Lasiurus borealis
Pteronotus parnelli
Spindalis zena
Diplopoda
Artibeus jamaicensis
Brachyphylla cavernarum
Erophylla sezekorni
Monophyllus redmani
Stenoderma rufum
Columba squamosa
Geotrygon montana
Euphonia musica
Phasmatidae
live leaves
sap
roots
pollen
nectar
fruit
seeds
flowers
fruit and seeds
nectar and floral
Collembola
Acari
leaves
POM

Based on studies in:
Norway: Spitsbergen (Coastal)
USA: Illinois (Forest)
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)
New Zealand (Grassland)
Japan (River)
Uganda (Lake or pond)
Africa, Lake McIlwaine (Lake or pond)
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)
Canada: Manitoba (Grassland)
USA: Florida, South Florida (Swamp)
USA: Montana (Tundra)
USA: Iowa, Mississippi River (River)
Scotland (Estuarine)
USA: Alaska (Tundra)
Peru (Coastal)
USA: Arizona, Sonora Desert (Desert or dune)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • A. C. Twomey, The bird population of an elm-maple forest with special reference to aspection, territorialism, and coactions, Ecol. Monogr. 15(2):175-205, from p. 202 (1945).
  • B. E. Marshall, The fish of Lake McIlwaine. In Lake McIlwaine: the eutrophication and recovery of a tropical man-made lake (J. A. Thornton, Ed.) Vol 49 Monographia Biologicae, D. W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 156-188, from p. 180 (1982).
  • C. A. Carlson, Summer bottom fauna of the Mississippi River, above Dam 19, Keokuk, Iowa, Ecology 49(1):162-168, from p. 167 (1968).
  • D. L. Pattie and N. A. M. Verbeek, Alpine birds of the Beartooth Mountains, Condor 68:167-176 (1966); Alpine mammals of the Beartooth Mountains, Northwest Sci. 41(3):110-117 (1967).
  • H. W. Koepcke and M. Koepcke, Sobre el proceso de transformacion de la materia organica en las playas arenosas marinas del Peru. Publ. Univ. Nac. Mayer San Marcos, Zoologie Serie A, No. 8, from p. 24 (1952).
  • Hall SJ, Raffaelli D (1991) Food-web patterns: lessons from a species-rich web. J Anim Ecol 60:823–842
  • Huxham M, Beany S, Raffaelli D (1996) Do parasites reduce the chances of triangulation in a real food web? Oikos 76:284–300
  • J. Brown, Ecological investigations of the Tundra biome in the Prudhoe Bay Region, Alaska, Special Report, no. 2, Biol. Pap. Univ. Alaska (1975), from p. xiv.
  • K. Paviour-Smith, The biotic community of a salt meadow in New Zealand, Trans. R. Soc. N.Z. 83(3):525-554, from p. 542 (1956).
  • L. D. Harris and G. B. Bowman, Vertebrate predator subsystem. In: Grasslands, Systems Analysis and Man, A. I. Breymeyer and G. M. Van Dyne, Eds. (International Biological Programme Series, no. 19, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, England, 1980), pp. 591-
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
  • M. J. Burgis, I. G. Dunn, G. G. Ganf, L. M. McGowan and A. B. Viner, Lake George, Uganda: Studies on a tropical freshwater ecosystem. In: Productivity Problems of Freshwaters, Z. Kajak and A. Hillbricht-Ilkowska, Eds. (Polish Scientific, Warsaw, 1972), p
  • M. Tsuda, Interim results of the Yoshino River productivity survey, especially on benthic animals. In: Productivity Problems of Freshwaters, Z. Kajak and A. Hillbricht-Ilkowska, Eds. (Polish Scientific, Warsaw, 1972), pp. 827-841, from p. 839.
  • P. G. Howes, The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World: A Brief Biology of the Giant Cactus Forest of Our American Southwest (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, New York; Little, Brown, Boston; 1954), from pp. 222-239, from p. 227.
  • R. D. Bird, Biotic communities of the Aspen Parkland of central Canada, Ecology, 11:356-442, from p. 383 (1930).
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Contributions to the ecology of Spitsbergen and Bear Island, J. Ecol. 11:214-286, from p. 232 (1923).
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Further contributions to the ecology of Spitzbergen, J. Ecol. 16:193-268, from p. 211 (1928).
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Further contributions to the ecology of Spitzbergen, J. Ecol. 16:193-268, from p. 217 (1928).
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Flies use vision more than most insects do. They also sometimes detect the vibrations of wingbeats. Like all insects, they use their sense of smell a lot.

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Life Cycle

Development

True Flies have complete metamorphosis. Adult female flies lay eggs, and then small larvae hatch from the eggs. The larvae are often worm-like, and do not have jointed legs. They molt (shed their whole skin) several times as they grow. Then they transform into a pupa, which is a resting stage that transforms into an adult.

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Most flies live less then a year. Many fly species survive the winter only as eggs. Others survive as pupae, and a few survive as larvae or adults. Unless they hibernate, adult flies don't usually live very long, often only a month or two, and sometimes just few days or weeks. Flies usually spend most of their lives as a larva or a pupa. Flies are eaten by many predators, so very few of them live as long as they can.

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Reproduction

Mating System: monogamous ; polyandrous ; polygynous

Most female flies produce hundreds of eggs. They lay them on the food supply for their larvae. They are often very sensitive to the smell of the food, and can locate it from kilometers away.

Breeding season: Flies breed when the weather is warm enough, and there is food for their larvae.

Key Reproductive Features: semelparous ; iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

True Flies usually don't have much parental care. The female puts her eggs in the right place, and that's it.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Vibration moves wings: flies
 

Wings of flies beat 1000 times a second thanks to vibrating thorax.

     
  "Flies are capable of beating their wings at speeds up to an astonishing 1000 beats a second. Some flies no longer use muscles directly attached to the bases of the wings. Instead they vibrate the whole thorax, a cylinder constructed of strong pliable chitin, making it click in and out like a bulging metal tin. The thorax is coupled to the wings by an ingenious structure at the wing base, and its contractions causes them to beat up and down." (Attenborough 1979: 80)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Attenborough, David. 1979. Life on Earth. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 319 p.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:1115612
Specimens with Sequences:968721
Specimens with Barcodes:938046
Species:21969
Species With Barcodes:19102
Public Records:884924
Public Species:7947
Public BINs:61688
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Barcode data

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Very few fly species need conservation. The few that do live in rare habitats that are in danger.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

True Flies are the worst insect pests. Some bite us, some spoil our food, some carry diseases.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings, carries human disease); crop pest; causes or carries domestic animal disease ; household pest

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The biggest benefit from flies comes from the parasitic species. They attack caterpillars, grasshoppers, and other insects that eat our food plants. Some flies also help pollinate plants that we grow. Flies are also important food source for other animals that we value, like fish.

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