- "Lesser dung fly" redirects here. This can also refer to the distantly related fly species Sepsis fulgens.
|Copromyza equina of the Copromyzinae|
Sphaeroceridae are a family of true flies in the order Diptera, often called small dung flies, lesser dung flies or lesser corpse flies due to their saprophagous habits. They belong to the typical fly suborder Brachycera as can be seen by their short antennae, and more precisely they are members of the section Schizophora. There are over 1,300 species and about 125 genera accepted as valid today, but new taxa are still being described.
Unlike the large "corpse flies" or blow-flies of the family Calliphoridae and the large dung flies of the family Scathophagidae, the small dung flies are members of the schizophoran subsection Acalyptratae. Among their superfamily Sphaeroceroidea, they seem to be particularly close relatives of the family Heleomyzidae.
Description and ecology 
Dung flies are small, usually dull-colored flies. They occur all over the world except in regions with permanent ice-cover. Despite their ubiquity and abundance, little is known about their economic or ecological impact. Some species are known to be parthenogenetic.
The larvae are microbial grazers found in abundance wherever there is decomposing organic material. Most species appear to be associated with decaying plants or fungi. Some species, especially cave species, are polysaprophagous. Many species are associated with various kinds of faeces; there are a few carrion-feeding species. These, however, are extremely abundant and are important components of the carrion-insect community. Sphaerocerids that abound in economically important decomposer communities such as compost and manure, and some decay cycles such as the wrack (seaweed) cycle are mediated by sphaerocerid-dominated insect communities.
As their microbe-associated habits suggest, sphaerocerids carry many pathogenic microorganisms. But their reclusive habits preclude a major role in disease transmission; some can present a public health hazard on occasion. One species, Poecilosomella angulata, has been implicated in human intestinal myiasis (Micks & McKibbon 1956). They have been implicated as the major means by which nematodes are disseminated among mushroom houses. Otherwise they are generally harmless to humans, but some occasionally reach nuisance levels in food-processing plants and other buildings. Carrion-feeding species are useful post mortem interval indicators in forensic entomology.
Selected genera 
Subfamily Tucminae Marshall, 1996
- Tucma Mourgués-Schurter, 1987
Subfamily Copromyzinae Stenhammar, 1855
- Alloborborus Duda, 1923
- Borborillus Duda, 1923
- Copromyza Fallén, 1810
- Crumomyia Macquart, 1835
- Lotophila Lioy, 1864
- Norrbomia Papp, 1988
Subfamily Sphaerocerinae Macquart, 1835
Subfamily Homalomitrinae Roháček & Marshall, 1998
Subfamily Limosininae Frey, 1921
See also 
- Roháček (2001)
- Roháček, Jindřich (ed.) (2001): World Catalogue of Sphaeroceridae. Slezské zemské muzeum, Opava, Czechia. ISBN 80-86224-21-X PDF fulltext without images
Further reading 
Important works on Sphaeroceridae
- Oswald Duda,1938. 57. Sphaeroceridae (Cypselidae). In Lindner, E. (ed.): Die Fliegen der palaearktischen Region Vol.6, 182 pp., E. Schweizerbart.sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart.
- Scientific papers by Theodor Becker
- Pitkin, B.R. (1988). Lesser dung flies. Diptera: Sphaeroceridae. Handbooks for the Identification of British insects 10(5e). London: Royal Entomological Society. ISBN 0-901546-67-4
- Richards, O.W. (1930). The British species of Sphaeroceridae (Borboridae:Diptera). Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18, 261-345.
- Rohácek, J. (1982-5). A monograph and reclassification of the previous genus Limosina Macquart (Diptera, Sphaeroceridae) of Europe, parts 1 to 4. Beitrage zur Entomologie
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sphaeroceridae|
- Family description and images
- Page on Sphaeroceridae in houses
- Image Gallery from Dipter.info
- Picture of Leptocera limosa, a typical sphaerocerid
- Wing venation
- European species list
- Nearctic species list
- Australasian/Oceanian species list
- Japanese species list