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The chaetotaxy of the thorax of a muscoid fly

Chaetotaxy is the arrangement of bristles (macrochaetae) on an insect or mite, or taxonomy based on their position and size. For example, it is important in Diptera, in which group it was formalised by Ernst August Girschner. The term chaetotaxy was later proposed by Carl Robert Osten-Sacken.

Morphology and chaetotaxy of the head of a fly (Muscomorpha)

The chaetotaxy of a fly might include :- acrostichal, dorsocentral, humeral, mesopleural, sternopleural, notopleural, postalar, supraalar and scutellar bristles on the thorax; dorsal, posterodorsal, anterodorsal, ventral, posteroventral and anteroventral bristles on the legs and ocellar, orbital, postvertical, vibrissal, outer vertical and inner vertical bristles on the head.


  • Capinera, J.L. (editor). 2008. Encyclopedia of Entomology, 2nd Edition. Vols. 1-4. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN 1-4020-6242-7.
  • McAlpine, J.F. 1981 Morphology and terminology - Adults. - In: McAlpine, J.P. et al. (eds.): Manual of Nearctic Diptera, vol. 1; p. 9-63 - Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Monograph 27.
  • Steyskal, G.C. (1976) The terminology of bristles on the upper back of the head in the higher Diptera. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 49 (2): 155-159.

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