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Croat fg122.jpg
Imago of unidentified species, Brseč (Croatia)
Scientific classification

Huttonininae (disputed)
Phaeomyiinae (disputed)
Salticellinae (disputed)


Huttoninidae (disputed)
Phaeomyiidae (disputed)

Pherbellia annulipes hunting on decaying wood (video, 1m 6s)
Limnia unguicornis on a blade of grass (video, 34s)

The family Sciomyzidae belongs to the typical flies (Brachycera) of the order Diptera. They are commonly called marsh flies, and in some cases snail-killing flies due to the food of their larvae.

Here, the Huttoninidae, Phaeomyiidae and Tetanoceridae are provisionally included in the Sciomyzidae. Particularly the latter seem to be an unequivocal part of this group and are ranked as tribe of subfamily Sciomyzinae by most modern authors, while the former two are very small lineages that may or may not stand outside the family and are provisionally ranked as subfamilies here. Whether the Salticellinae and the group around Sepedon warrant recognition as additional subfamilies or are better included in the Sciomyzinae proper is likewise not yet entirely clear. Altogether, the main point of contention is the relationship between the "Huttoninidae", "Phaeomyiidae", Sciomyzidae sensu stricto, and the Helosciomyzidae which were also once included in the Sciomyzidae.

Sciomyzidae are found in all the Ecozones but are poorly represented in the Australasian and Oceanian Regions.


For terms see Morphology of Diptera. Sciomyzidae are small or medium-sized (2–14 mm), usually slender flies with predominantly dull grey, brown, reddish or yellow body, rarely black-lustrous. Wings hyaline, often with dark spots or dark reticulate pattern. The head is semispherical or round. The antennae are usually elongate and the arista is pubescent or has shorter or longer hairs. Ocelli and ocellar bristles are present (absent in Sepedon). The postvertical bristles are divergent or parallel. There are one or two pairs of frontal bristles which curve backward (the lower pair sometimes curving inward) Interfrontal bristles are absent but interfrontal setulae are sometimes present. Vibrissae are absent. The wing is clear or with conspicuous markings. The costa is continuous and the subcosta is complete. Crossvein BM-Cu is present and the anal cell (cell cup) is closed. Tibiae almost always have a dorsal preapical bristle.


Marsh flies are common along the edges of ponds and rivers, and in marshy areas. The adults drink dew and nectar. The larvae prey on or become parasites of gastropods (slugs and snails). The occasional sciomyzid attacks snail eggs or fingernail clams.[1] Very little is known about the complete life cycle of these flies but most of the known larvae are semi-aquatic and some are aquatic. Other species have terrestrial larvae. Larvae mainly prey on non-operculate snails. Some species which prey on bivalves have larvae adapted to breathing under water. In some terrestrial species the penultimate larval instar emerges from the snail or slug it developed in. The last instar is then predatory on several snails.

The adults rest on vegetation head down. According to the larval habitat, they are found near water, in marshy vegetation,in woodland or occasionally dry open habitats.


  • Shtakel'berg, A.A. Family Sciomyzidae in Bei-Bienko, G. Ya, 1988 Keys to the insects of the European Part of the USSR Volume 5 (Diptera) Part 2 English edition. Keys to Palaearctic species but now needs revision.
  • Séguy, E. (1934) Diptères: Brachycères. II. Muscidae acalypterae, Scatophagidae. Paris: Éditions Faune de France 28. virtuelle numérique

Selected genera[edit]

Species Lists[edit]


  1. ^ Foote, B.A.; Knutson, L.V.; Keiper, J.B. (1999). "The snail-killing flies of Alaska (Diptera: Sciomyzidae)". Insecta Mundi. 13 (1–2): 45–71. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  2. ^ Papp, László (2004). "Description of the first apterous genus of Sciomyzidae (Diptera), from Nepal". Revue Suisse de Zoologie; Annales de la Société Zoologique Suisse et du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Genève. 111 (1): 57–62. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Cresson, Ezra Townsend (1920). "A Revision of the Nearctic Sciomyzidae (Diptera, Acalyptratae)". Transactions of the American Entomological Society. 46 (1): 27–89. JSTOR 25077025.
  4. ^ a b Steyskal, G C; Knutson, L V (1975). "Key to the genera of Sciomyzidae (Diptera) from the Americas south of the United States, with descriptions of two new genera". Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 77: 274–277. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  5. ^ Sack, Pius (1939). "Sciomyzidae". Die Fliegen der Palaearktischen Region. 125 (1, 2, 3).
  6. ^ Marinoni, Luciane; Zumbado, Manuel A.; Knutson, Lloyd. "A new genus and species of Sciomyzidae (Diptera) from the Neotropical Region". Zootaxa. 540 (1). ISSN 1175-5334.
  7. ^ Becker, Theodor (1919). Diptères, brachycères. Mission du Service Geographique de l'Armée pour la mesure d'un arc de méridien équatorial en Amérique du Sud sous le contrôle scientifique de l'Académie des Sciences, 1899-1906. Paris: Gauthier-Villars. p. 163. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Malloch, John Russell (1933). "Acalyptrata; Heleomyzidae, Trypetidae, Sciomyzidae, Sapromyzidae". Diptera of Patagonia and South Chile. 6 (4): 177–389.
  9. ^ a b Enderlein, Günther (1939). "Zur Kenntnis der Klassifikation der Tetanoceriden (Diptera)". Veröffentlichungen aus dem Deutschen Kolonial- und Übersee-Museum in Bremen. 2 (3): 201–210.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Knutson, Lloyd Vernon; Vala, Jean-Claude (2011). Biology of Snail-Killing Sciomyzidae Flies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–526. ISBN 978-0521867856.
  11. ^ a b c d Verbeke, J. (1950). "Sciomyzidae (Diptera Cyclorrhapha)" (PDF). Exploration du Parc National Albert (Mission G. F. DE WITTE, 1933-1935). 63: 1–97. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b c Tonnoir, A. L.; Malloch, J. R. (1928). "New Zealand Muscidae Acalyptratae. Part IV. Sciomyzidae". Records of the Canterbury Museum. 3 (3): 151–179.
  13. ^ a b Barnes, Jeffrey K. (1980). "Taxonomy of the New Zealand genus Eulimnia, and biology and immature stages of E. philpotti (Diptera: Sciomyzidae)". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 7: 91–103. doi:10.1080/03014223.1980.10423766.
  14. ^ Steyskal, George C. (1954). "Colobaea and Hedria, Two Genera of Sciomyzidae New to America (Diptera: Acalyptratae)". The Canadian Entomologist. 86 (2): 60–65.
  15. ^ Elberg, K. J. (1965). "New palaearctic genera and species of flies of the family Sciomyzidae (Diptera, Acalyptratae)". Ent. Rev. 44 (1): 104–109.
  16. ^ Mayer, Helmut (1953). "Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Sciomyzidae (Dipt. Musc. acalyptr.)" (PDF). Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien. 59: 202–219. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  17. ^ a b Hendel, F. (1900). "Untersuchungen über die europäischen Arten der Gattung Tetanocera im Sinne Schiner's. Eine dipterologische Studie". Verhandlungen der Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien. 50: 319–358.
  18. ^ a b Steyskal, George C. (1973). "A New Classification of the Sepedon Group of the Family Sciomyzidae (Diptera) with Two New Genera". Entomological News. 84: 143–146. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  19. ^ Ghorpade, Kumar; Marinoni, Luciane; Knutson, Lloyd (1999). "Steyskalina picta, new genus and species of Tetanocerini (Diptera, Sciomyzidae) from the Oriental Region". Revista Brasileira de Zoologia. 16 (3): 835–839. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  20. ^ Hennig, Willi (1952). "Bemerkenswerte neue Acalyptraten in der Sammlung des Deutschen Entomologischen Institutes (Diptera: Acalyptrata)". Beiträge zur Entomologie. 2 (6): 604–618. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  21. ^ Perty, M. (1833). Delectus animalium articulatorum quae in itinere per Brasiliam annis MDCCCXVII-MDCCCXX jussu et auspiciis Maximiliani Josephi I. Bavariae regis augustissimi peracto collegerunt Dr. J.B. de Sphix et Dr. C.F. Ph. De Martius. Munich. pp. 189, pl. 37.
  22. ^ Knutson, L. V. (1968). "A new genus and species of Sciomyzidae from Tanzania, with a key to the genera of the Ethiopian Region and distributional notes". Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa. 31 (1): 175–180.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]