Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Phorid Flies

This is the first of two posts about Phorid Flies.

Phoridae is a family of small and hump-back flies that are known to commonly resemble fruit flies. They can be identified (and distinguished) from a fruit fly by the specific way of escape--they run quickly across the surface they are on, instead of flying. It is this behaviour that also gives them their alternate name "scuttle flies".

There are approximately 4,000 species of phorid flies in 230 genera. The most well-known species is the Megaselia scalaris or the "coffin fly"

Phorid flies are small at only about 1/2-6 mm in length and when they are viewed from the side they have a visible hump. Their colouring ranges from black or brown to yellowish.

Phorid flies are classified into six subfamilies:

  • Phorinae
  • Aenigmatiinae
  • Metopininae
  • Alamirinae
  • Termitoxeniinae
  • Thaumatoxeninae

However, in 1992 Alamirinae was abolished when it was shown that they were the "missing" males if the Termitoxeniinae family, which until then was known to only be females.

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