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Moth flies
Clogmia Albipunctata or moth fly.jpg
Clogmia albipunctata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Nematocera
Infraorder: Psychodomorpha
Superfamily: Psychodoidea
Family: Psychodidae


The nematoceran family Psychodidae (moth flies or drain flies) are small true flies (Diptera) with short, hairy bodies and wings giving them a "furry" moth-like appearance. The adults have long antennae and the wings are leaf-shaped, either slender or broad, with the most elementary wing venation of any Diptera, having little more than a series of parallel veins without crossveins. Adult Psychodidae are typically nocturnal and associated with damp habitats. The larvae of the subfamilies Psychodinae, Sycoracinae and Horaiellinae live in aquatic to semi-terrestrial habitats, including bathroom sinks; some species are commonly found in bathrooms.[1] Prevention is best accomplished by removing food sources such as hair clogs in drains.

The subfamily Phlebotominae includes many blood feeding species; they are inhabitants of more arid regions and are often called sand flies outside the United States where sand flies are distantly related Nematocera of the Ceratopogonidae. This subfamily is sometimes treated as a separate family Phlebotomidae; the type genus is Phlebotomus. Phlebotominae are a very important group medically, transmitting various tropical diseases, but most importantly kala azar leishmaniasis. Phlebotomus species are also vectors for bartonellosis, verruga peruana, pappataci fever, an arbovirus caused by Sandfly fever viruses such as Naples and Sicilian strains, which are members of the genus Phlebovirus (family Bunyaviridae), which also includes the closely related Toscana virus.[2][3]

In the New World, the genus implicated in the transmission of leishmaniasis is Lutzomyia. Lu. chagasi is responsible for the visceral form, while others like Lu. gomezi and Lu. longipalpis may be responsible for transmitting the cutaneous and muco-cutaneous forms of this tropical disease.

Sycoracinae, another subfamily, is also of hematophagous habits, being parasitic on frogs. The European species Sycorax silacea Haliday in Curtis, 1839 has been shown to transmit microfilarian worms.[4]

Aquatic larva 


  1. ^ Denny Schrock (31 January 2004). Ortho home gardener's problem solver. Meredith Books. ISBN 978-0-89721-504-6. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Shope RE (1996). Bunyaviruses. In: Barron's Medical Microbiology (Barron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. 
  3. ^ Valassina M, Cusi MG, Valensin PE (2003). "A Mediterranean arbovirus: the Toscana virus". J Neurovirol 9 (6): 577–83. doi:10.1080/13550280390247678. PMID 14602570. 
  4. ^ Desportes, C. 1941. Forcipomyia velox Winn et Sycorax silacea Curtis, vecteurs dIcosiella neglecta (Diesing, 1850) filaire commune de la grenouille verte. Annals de Parasitologie Humaine et Compareè, 19: 53-68.

Further reading[edit]

  • Quate, L.W. 1955. A revision of the Psychodidae (Diptera) in America north of Mexico. University of California Publications in Entomology.
  • Quate, L.W. & B.V. Brown. 2004. Revision of Neotropical Setomimini (Diptera: Psychodidae: Psychodinae). Contributions in Science, 500: 1-117.
  • Vaillant, F. 1971. Psychodidae - Psychodinae. In: E. Lindner, ed. Die Fliegen der Palaearktischen Region, 9d, Lieferung 287: 1-48.
  • Young, D.G. & P.V. Perkins. 1984. Phlebotomine sand flies of North America (Diptera: Psychodidae). Mosquito News, 44: 263-304.

External links[edit]