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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachycera
Zetterstedt 1842

The Brachycera are a suborder of the order Diptera. [1] [2] It is a major suborder consisting of around 120 families. [3] Their most distinguishing characteristic is reduced antenna segmentation.



A summary of the main physical characteristics is:

Brachyceran flies can also be distinguished through behavior. Many of the species are predators or scavengers.


The structure of subgroups within the Brachycera is a source of much confusion and controversy; many of the names used historically (e.g., Orthorrhapha) have not been used in decades, but still persist in textbooks, checklists, faunal catalogs, and other sources. Additionally, most recent classifications no longer use the Linnaean ranks for taxa (e.g., the Tree of Life Web Project), and this creates its own set of problems.

See also

Related Research Articles

Fly Order of insects

Flies are insects of the order Diptera, the name being derived from the Greek δι- di- "two", and πτερόν pteron "wing". Insects of this order use 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. Diptera is a large order containing an estimated 1,000,000 species including horse-flies, crane flies, hoverflies and others, although only about 125,000 species have been described.

Maggot Larva of a fly

A maggot is the larva of a fly ; it is applied in particular to the larvae of Brachycera flies, such as houseflies, cheese flies, and blowflies, rather than larvae of the Nematocera, such as mosquitoes and Crane flies. A 2012 study estimated the population of maggots in North America alone to be in excess of 3×1017.

Bibionomorpha Infraorder of flies

The Bibionomorpha are an infraorder of the suborder Nematocera. One of its constituent families, the Anisopodidae, is the presumed sister taxon to the entire suborder Brachycera. Several of the remaining families in the infraorder are former subfamilies of the Mycetophilidae, which has been recently subdivided. The family Axymyiidae has recently been removed from the Bibionomorpha to its own infraorder Axymyiomorpha.

Caddisfly Order of caddisflies

The caddisflies, or order Trichoptera, are a group of insects with aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults. There are approximately 14,500 described species, most of which can be divided into the suborders Integripalpia and Annulipalpia on the basis of the adult mouthparts. Integripalpian larvae construct a portable casing to protect themselves as they move around looking for food, while Annulipalpian larvae make themselves a fixed retreat in which they remain, waiting for food to come to them. The affinities of the small third suborder Spicipalpia are unclear, and molecular analysis suggests it may not be monophyletic. Also called sedge-flies or rail-flies, the adults are small moth-like insects with two pairs of hairy membranous wings. They are closely related to the Lepidoptera which have scales on their wings; the two orders together form the superorder Amphiesmenoptera.

Phoridae Family of flies

The Phoridae are a family of small, hump-backed flies resembling fruit flies. Phorid flies can often be identified by their escape habit of running rapidly across a surface rather than taking to the wing. This behaviour is a source of one of their alternate names, scuttle fly. Another vernacular name, coffin fly, refers to Conicera tibialis. About 4,000 species are known in 230 genera. The most well-known species is cosmopolitan Megaselia scalaris. At 0.4 mm in length, the world's smallest fly is the phorid Euryplatea nanaknihali.

Asilidae Family of flies

The Asilidae are the robber fly family, also called assassin flies. They are powerfully built, bristly flies with a short, stout proboscis enclosing the sharp, sucking hypopharynx. The name "robber flies" reflects their notoriously aggressive predatory habits; they feed mainly or exclusively on other insects and as a rule they wait in ambush and catch their prey in flight.

The Nymphomyiidae are a family of tiny (2 mm) slender, delicate flies (Diptera). Larvae are found among aquatic mosses in small, rapid streams in northern regions of the world, including northeastern North America, Japan, the Himalayas, and eastern Russia. Around a dozen extant species are known, with two fossil species found in amber, extending back to the Mid Cretaceous. Under an alternative classification, they are considered the only living representatives of a separate, suborder called Archidiptera which includes several Triassic fossil members. The family has characteristics associated with the Nematocera as well as the Brachycera. The antennae are shortened as in the Brachycera and these flies are long, having a snout with vestigeal mouthparts, non-differentiated abdominal segments with large cerci. The wings are narrow and hair-fringed and have very weak venation. They are known to form cloud-like swarms in summer and the short-lived non-feeding adults have wings that fracture at the base shortly after mating.

Braulidae Family of flies

Braulidae, or bee louse, is a family of fly (Diptera) with seven species in two genera, Braula and Megabraula. Found in honey bee colonies, these most unusual wingless and small flies, are not a true bee parasite, and are barely recognizable as Diptera, as they have the superficial appearance of mites or lice.

Stratiomyidae Family of flies

The soldier flies are a family of flies. The family contains over 2,700 species in over 380 extant genera worldwide. Adults are found near larval habitats, which are found in a wide array of locations, mostly in wetlands, damp places in soil, sod, under bark, in animal excrement, and in decaying organic matter. The Stratiomyinae are a different subgroup that tends to have an affinity to aquatic environments. They are diverse in size and shape, though they commonly are partly or wholly metallic green, or somewhat wasplike mimics, marked with black and yellow or green and sometimes metallic. They are often rather inactive flies which typically rest with their wings placed one above the other over the abdomen.


The Brachyceran infraorder Muscomorpha is a large and diverse group of flies, containing the bulk of the Brachycera, and, most of the known flies. It includes a number of the most familiar flies, such as the housefly, the fruit fly, and the blow fly. The antennae are short, usually three-segmented, with a dorsal arista. Their bodies are often highly setose, and the pattern of setae is often taxonomically important.

Rhagionidae Family of flies

Rhagionidae or snipe flies are a small family of flies. They got their name from the similarity of their, often, prominent proboscis that looks like the beak of a snipe.

Milichiidae Family of flies

Milichiidae are a family of flies. Most species are very small and dark. Details of their biology have not yet been properly studied, but they are best known as kleptoparasites of predatory invertebrates, and accordingly are commonly known as freeloader flies or jackal flies. However, because of the conditions under which many species breed out, they also are known as filth flies.

Scenopinidae Family of flies

The Scenopinidae or window flies are a small family of flies (Diptera), distributed worldwide. In buildings, they are often taken at windows, hence the common name window flies.

Neriidae Family of flies

The Neriidae are a family of true flies (Diptera) closely related to the Micropezidae. Some species are known as cactus flies, while others have been called banana stalk flies and the family was earlier treated as subfamily of the Micropezidae which are often called stilt-legged flies. Neriids differ from micropezids in having no significant reduction of the fore legs. Neriids breed in rotting vegetation, such as decaying tree bark or rotting fruit. About 100 species are placed in 19 genera. Neriidae are found mainly in tropical regions, but two North American genera occur, each with one species, and one species of Telostylinus occurs in temperate regions of eastern Australia.

<i>Phormia regina</i> Species of fly

The species Phormia regina , more commonly known as the black blow fly, belongs to the blow fly family Calliphoridae and was first described by Johann Wilhelm Meigen.

Athericidae Family of flies

Athericidae is a small family of flies known as water snipe flies or ibis flies. They used to be placed in the family Rhagionidae, but were removed by Stuckenberg in 1973. They are now known to be more closely related to Tabanidae. Species of Athericidae are found worldwide.

<i>Anastrepha ludens</i> Species of fly

The Mexican fruit fly also known as Anastrepha ludens and the Mexfly is a species of fly of the Anastrepha genus in the Tephritidae family. It is closely related to the Caribbean fruit fly Anastrepha suspensa, and the papaya fruit fly Anastrepha curvicauda.

The Diptera is a very large and diverse order of mostly small to medium-sized insects. They have prominent compound eyes on a mobile head, and one pair of functional, membraneous wings, which are attached to a complex mesothorax. The second pair of wings, on the metathorax, are reduced to halteres. The order's fundamental peculiarity is its remarkable specialization in terms of wing shape and the morpho-anatomical adaptation of the thorax – features which lend particular agility to its flying forms. The filiform, stylate or aristate antennae correlate with the Nematocera, Brachycera and Cyclorrhapha taxa respectively. It displays substantial morphological uniformity in lower taxa, especially at the level of genus or species. The configuration of integumental bristles is of fundamental importance in their taxonomy, as is wing venation. It displays a complete metamorphosis, or holometabolous development. The larvae are legless, and have head capsules with mandibulate mouthparts in the Nematocera. The larvae of "higher flies" (Brachycera) are however headless and wormlike, and display only three instars. Pupae are obtect in the Nematocera, or coarcate in Brachycera.

<i>Bombylius canescens</i> Species of fly

Bombylius canescens, is a species of bee-fly belonging to the family Bombyliidae.

Trapherinae is a subfamily of flies (Diptera) in the family Platystomatidae, which currently includes 11 genera.


  1. "BRACHYCERA | 1 Definitions of Brachycera - YourDictionary". Your Dictionary. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  2. "Suborder Brachycera - Flies (Order: Diptera) - Amateur Entomologists' Society (AES)". Amateur Entomologists Society. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  3. "ITIS Standard Report Page: Brachycera". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 16 October 2020.