Order Diptera - True Flies

Order Diptera
This order contains the true flies.  These insects have one pair of flight wings and a pair of modified hind wings called halteres, which are used for balancing.  The mouthparts of the adults may be sucking, piercing-sucking, cutting-sponging, or sponging.  They have large compound eyes and the antennae are variable.  The larvae, commonly known as maggots, are legless and wormlike.


The mosquitoes are well-known flies that have slender bodies and long legs.  The adults can be distinguished from similar looking flies, such as midges, by having scales along the wing veins and a long proboscis.  The females feed on blood, which they need to develop eggs, and consequently serve as vectors in the transmission of many diseases.  The antennae of males are very plumose while those of the females have only a few short hairs.


Tachinid Flies
Tachinds have relatively large, stout bodies.  They resemble house flies, but are typically larger and have many bristles on their bodies.  The arista on the antennae is usually bare and they also have a well-developed postscutellum.  They are valuable because they are parasites of other insects as larvae.  This is the second largest family within the order Diptera with about 1,350 species described in North America


Blow Flies
Blow flies are similar to tachinids except that the arista is feathery and the postscutellum is not developed.  They are often metallic blue, green, or black and are important scavengers