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Diptera

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Syrphid flies

English

The flies in this large family are commonly found on flowers, where they are sometimes confused with bees and wasps. Some species are smooth and others hairy, and they are black or brown, sometimes with white, yellow or orange markings.

They may be recognized by their way of hovering and their colourful markings. The adults are usually 10 to 20 mmm long. The larvae vary in appearance depending on the species.

Bee flies

English

This family contains flies that resemble bees or some species of wasps, but especially honeybees: their bodies are covered in a hairy integument, like soft fur, in various colours depending on the species. The single pair of wings often has dark markings. These insects are 4 to 40 mm long.

Flies and mosquitoes

English

Most insects in the order Diptera are fairly easy to recognize, because of their characteristic shape. They have a single pair of membranous wings. The second pair is reduced to small knobbed structures called halters. A few dipterans have no wings at all. Insects in this order have large compound eyes, and their mouthparts are adapted for licking and sucking.

The larvae, also called maggots in some cases, look like small worms.

This huge group consists of about 100,000 species divided into two suborders, depending on the size of their antennae:

Nematocera

These insects have longer antennae. They generally look like mosquitoes, with long legs, slender bodies, a fairly fragile appearance and segmented antennae.

Brachycera

These dipterans have shorter antennae and are shaped like house flies, with stockier bodies and fewer antenna segments.

Black flies

English

Black flies are tiny, stocky flies from 1.4 to 6 mm long. Despite their name, their colour varies depending on the species. Their convex thorax gives them a characteristic humpbacked appearance. The six fairly short legs have white bands in certain species.

The females’ abdomens, which absorb blood meals, are particularly expandable. Their short, sharp mouthparts are adapted to cutting through skin and sucking up blood.

Mosquitoes

English

Mosquitoes are small insects with elongated bodies and a pair of V-shaped, forward pointing antennae. The males’ antennae are bushier than the females’.

These insects also have a characteristic long proboscis. Females have very sharp mouthparts for piercing the skin of vertebrates from which they suck blood. Males do not bite and their mouthparts are not as rigid.

Fruit flies

English
Drosophila melanogaster

These are small brownish-yellow insects about 3 to 4 mm long. Their compound eyes are bright red. They have two broad, oval wings and dark bands on their short abdomen. Males have a dark, rounded extremity, and females have a lighter, pointed one. Males are smaller than females.

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