Kwik-Key to Common Families of Diptera

Answer for your specimen:

If you have reached this part of the key, your specimen may belong to the superfamily Tephritoidea.   These flies typically have elaborate patterns of spots or bands on the wings.

  Three common families are:


Fruit flies

These are small to medium size flies with spotted or banded wings.   The subcosta bends forward at a sharp angle and then fades out before it reaches the wing margin.   Larvae feed on plant tissues and some species are serious pests of fruit (e.g. apple maggot).

Ulidiidae (formerly Otitidae)

Picture-winged flies

These flies have complex markings on the wings.   The subcosta does not bend sharply – it curves smoothly toward the costal margin of the wing.   The anal cell is short but ends in a point.   Most species are phytophagous or saprophagous.


Signal flies

Adults are typically found on foliage or around dung.   They are distinctive because the wings are kept in constant motion – hence the common name.    Body color ranges from yellow to black and often has a metallic luster.   The R4+5 vein has bristles.   Larvae are either phytophagous or saprophagous.