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Tsetse fly.png
Tsetse fly (genus Glossina)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachycera
Infraorder: Muscomorpha
Section: Schizophora
Subsection: Calyptratae
Superfamily: Hippoboscoidea

About 5, see text.

Hippoboscoidea is a superfamily of Calyptratae. The flies in this superfamily are blood-feeding obligate parasites of their hosts. Five families are often placed here:

The Hippoboscidae are commonly called louse flies. The bat flies are Nycteribiidae and Streblidae; the latter are probably not monophyletic and ought to be either split in two families or united with the Nycteribiidae.[1] The family Glossinidae, monotypic as to genus, contains the tsetse flies, economically important as the vector of trypanosomiasis. The enigmatic Mormotomyiidae is entirely monotypic at present, with the single species Mormotomyia hirsuta known from one locality in Kenya. Most probably the Mormotomyiidae belong to the Ephydroidea.[2]

In older literature, this group is often referred to as the Pupipara ("pupa-bearers"), in reference to the fact that, unlike virtually all other insects, most of the larval development takes place inside the mother's body, and pupation occurs almost immediately after "birth" – in essence, instead of laying eggs a female lays full-size pupae one at a time. In the strict sense, the Pupipara only encompass the Hippoboscidae, Nycteribiidae and "Streblidae", which in older works were all included in Hippoboscidae.


Species of the Hippoboscoidea do not lay eggs. Instead the larvae hatch in utero, are fed internally by 'milk glands' and pass through three morphological stages before being deposited to pupate.


  1. ^ Petersen et al. (2007)
  2. ^ Kirk-Spriggs, A.H., Kotrba, M. & Copeland, R.S. 2011. Further details of the morphology of the enigmatic African fly Mormotomyia hirsuta Austen (Diptera: Mormotomyiidae). African Invertebrates 52 (1): 145-165.[1]
  • Borror, Donald J.; Triplehorn, Charles A. & Johnson, Norman F. (1989): An Introduction to the Study of Insects (6th ed.). Saunders College Pub., Philadelphia. ISBN 0-03-025397-7
  • Petersen, Frederik Torp; Meier, Rudolf; Kutty, Sujatha Narayanan & Wiegmann, Brian M. (2007): The phylogeny and evolution of host choice in the Hippoboscoidea (Diptera) as reconstructed using four molecular markers. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 45(1): 111–122. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.023 (HTML abstract)