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Aedes aegypti.jpg
Aedes aegypti, a disease-carrying mosquito
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Nematocera
Duméril, 1805[1]

The Nematocera (the name means "thread-horns") are a suborder of elongated flies with thin, segmented antennae and mostly aquatic larvae. Major families in the suborder include the mosquitoes, crane flies, gnats, black flies, and a group of families described as midges.

The Nematocera typically have fairly long, fine, finely-jointed antennae. In this they differ from the most familiar flies, the suborder Brachycera (the name means "short-horns"), which includes the house flies, blow flies and many similar flies; Brachycera generally have short, stubby antennae. In many species, such as most mosquitoes, the female antennae are more or less threadlike, but the males have spectacularly plumose antennae.

The larvae of most families of Nematocera are aquatic, either free-swimming, rock-dwelling, plant-dwelling, or luticolous. Some families however, are not aquatic; for instance the Tipulidae tend to be soil-dwelling and the Mycetophilidae feed on fungi such as mushrooms. Unlike most of the Brachycera, the larvae of Nematocera have distinct heads with mouthparts that may be modified for filter feeding or chewing, depending on their lifestyles.

The pupae are orthorrhaphous which means that adults emerge from the pupa through a straight, longitudinal seam in the dorsal surface of the pupal cuticle.

The bodies and legs of most adult Nematocera are elongated, and many species have relatively long abdomens.

Males of many species form mating swarms like faint pillars of smoke, competing for females that visit the cloud of males to find a mate.


These families belong to the suborder Nematocera:[3][4][5]


  1. ^ Sabrosky, C.W. (1999). "Family-Group Names in Diptera" (PDF). Myia. 10: 1–360. (page 358)
  2. ^ Savage, Jade; Borkent, Art; Brodo, Fenja; Cumming, Jeffrey M.; et al. (2019). "Diptera of Canada. In: Langor DW, Sheffield CS (Eds) The Biota of Canada – A Biodiversity Assessment. Part 1: The Terrestrial Arthropods". ZooKeys (819): 397–450. doi:10.3897/zookeys.819.27625. PMC 6355757. PMID 30713456.
  3. ^ a b Pape, Thomas; Blagoderov, Vladimir; Mostovski, Mikhail B. (2011). Zhang, Zhi-Qiang (ed.). "Order Diptera Linnaeus, 1758. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3148. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3148.1.42. ISBN 978-1-86977-849-1. ISSN 1175-5326.
  4. ^ Greenwalt, D.; Kjærandsen, J. (2019). "Fungus Gnats Online". Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  5. ^ Schiner, I.R. (1868). Diptera. vi In [Wullerstorf-Urbair, B. von (in charge)], Reise der osterreichischen Fregatte Novara. Zool. 2(1)B. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn. pp. 388pp., 4 pls.
  • Borror, D. J., DeLong, D. M., Triplehorn, C. A.(1976) Fourth edition. An introduction to the study of insects. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. New York, Chicago. ISBN 0-03-088406-3
  • Arnett, R. H. Jr. (2000) Second edition. American insects. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Londres,New York, Washington, D. C. ISBN 0-8493-0212-9

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