The Asiloidea comprise a very large superfamily insects in the order Diptera, the true flies. It has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring worldwide, with many species living in dry, sandy habitat types. It includes the family Bombyliidae, the bee flies, which are parasitoids, and the Asilidae, the robber flies, which are predators of other insects. Members of the other families are mainly flower visitors as adults and predators as larvae.[1]

It is not entirely clear that this superfamily is monophyletic. It is closely related to the Empidoidea and the Cyclorrhapha.[1][2]

Robber fly head
A robber fly illustrating typical Asiloidea head features
Pegesimallus sp robberfly
Robber fly (Asilidae) with beetle prey
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Infraorder: Asilomorpha
Superfamily: Asiloidea



The Protapioceridae, a family of extinct flies that were native to China, are also classified in the Asiloidea.[3]


  1. ^ a b El-Hawagry, M. S. A. (2011). "Catalogue of Superfamily Asiloidea (Diptera: Brachycera) of Egypt" (PDF). Efflatounia. 11: 1–190.
  2. ^ Trautwein, M. D.; et al. (2010). "A multigene phylogeny of the fly superfamily Asiloidea (Insecta): Taxon sampling and additional genes reveal the sister-group to all higher flies (Cyclorrhapha)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 56 (3): 918–30. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.04.017. PMID 20399874.
  3. ^ Zhang, K.; et al. (2007). "Notes on the extinct family Protapioceridae, with description of a new species from China (Insecta: Diptera: Asiloidea)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1530: 27–32.

Media related to Asiloidea at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Asiloidea at Wikispecies


The Apioceridae, or flower-loving flies, are a small (about 150 species) family of flies, all in the single genus Apiocera. They occur mostly in dry, sandy habitats in the deserts of North America, South America, and Australia. Other genera formerly placed in Apioceridae are now in Mydidae.


The Apsilocephalidae comprise a family of flies in the superfamily Asiloidea. The family was proposed in 1991.

The Apsilocephalidae are close relatives (sister group) of Therevidae distinguishable by genitalic characters. Three genera are extant and two are fossil.

Therevoid clade


Apystomyia is a genus of flies in the family Apystomyiidae. This lone genus in that family contains a single species, Apystomyia elinguis.


The Asilidae are the robber fly family, also called assassin flies. They are powerfully built, bristly flies with a short, stout proboscis enclosing the sharp, sucking hypopharynx. The name "robber flies" reflects their notoriously aggressive predatory habits; they feed mainly or exclusively on other insects and as a rule they wait in ambush and catch their prey in flight.


The Brachyceran infraorder Asilomorpha is a large and diverse group of flies, containing the bulk of the nonmuscoid Brachycera. The larvae of asilomorphs are extremely diverse in habits, as well.


The Bombyliidae are a family of flies. Their common name are bee flies or humbleflies. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, some being important pollinators. Larvae generally are parasitoids of other insects.


Evocoa is a monotypic genus of flies containing the single species Evocoa chilensis. It is the only genus in the family Evocoidae.

This fly was described in 2003 with the name Ocoa chilensis, and it was placed in its own family, but that genus name was preoccupied. A new genus name was coined in 2006.This species is a small fly native to Chile.


Glabellula is a genus of micro bee flies in the family Mythicomyiidae. There are at least 20 described species in Glabellula.


The Hilarimorphidae or hilarimorphid flies are a family of Diptera. They are placed in the superfamily Asiloidea, though some considerable doubt exists, but the consensus is that they are most closely related to the Bombyliidae. Most species are nearctic.


Mydas is a genus of mydas flies in the family Mydidae. There are at least 60 described species in Mydas.


Mythicomyiidae, commonly called mythicomyiids, are very tiny flies (0.5–5.0 mm) found throughout most parts of the world, especially desert and semi-desert regions, except the highest altitudes and latitudes. They are not as common in the tropics, but genera such as Cephalodromia and Platypygus are known from these regions. Many of these "microbombyliids" have a humpbacked thorax (as in the Acroceridae) and lack the dense vestiture common in the Bombyliidae. Mythicomyiids have until recently not had much attention in the literature. Their small size has caused them to be missed when collecting. Yellow pan trapping and fine-mesh netting in Malaise and aerial sweep nets has resulted in a number of undescribed species from many parts of the world. A high diversity of both genera and species exists for this family in Africa, especially northern and southern portions. About 350 species are known (most in the genus Mythicomyia Coquillett). Hundreds more await description.

Because of their extremely small size and curious body shapes, some genera have been at times placed in the Acroceridae or Empididae. Originally, taxa were placed in the subfamily Mythicomyiinae in the Empididae. Later, they were transferred to the Bombyliidae, where mythicomyiids have long been treated. Zaitzev (1991) was the first to give characters warranting raising the group to family level. Subsequent workers have followed Zaitzev's lead and treat the group as a separate family. The family is separated from the Bombyliidae by the unbranched wing vein R4+5 (branched in Bombyliidae), the extremely reduced or absent maxillary palpi (present in Bombyliidae), wings held together over the abdomen at rest (held at an angle in Bombyliidae), and the abdominal spiracles being placed in the terga (placed in the pleural membrane in Bombyliidae). Augmenting the morphological characters, it is also a much older lineage than any known Bombyliidae, dating from as far back as the Middle Jurassic (Palaeoplatypygus Kovalev; Callovian: 163–168 mya) with other genera known from the Cretaceous (Procyrtosia Hennig and Proplatypygus Zaitzev). Bombyliidae, though, are not known from any older fossil material than Eocene Baltic amber deposits (Lutetian to Rupelian: 30–52 million years ago).


The Nemestrinoidea are a small, monophyletic superfamily of flies, whose relationship to the remaining Brachycera is uncertain; they are sometimes grouped with the Tabanomorpha rather than the Asilomorpha. They are presently considered to be the sister taxon to the Asiloidea. The group contains two recent very small families, the Acroceridae and Nemestrinidae, both of which occur worldwide but contain only small numbers of rare species. One extinct family, Rhagionemestriidae, is also included in Nemestrinoidea.These insects are parasitoids, with Acroceridae attacking spiders, and Nemestrinidae typically attacking Orthoptera. Both families have unusual and distinctive wing venation by which they can be easily recognized, in addition to other features.


Opomydas is a genus of mydas flies (insects in the family Mydidae). There are at least 3 described species in Opomydas.


Phyllomydas is a genus of mydas flies (insects in the family Mydidae). There are about seven described species in Phyllomydas.


Pseudonomoneura is a genus of mydas flies (insects in the family Mydidae). There are about seven described species in Pseudonomoneura.


The Scenopinidae or window flies are a small (about 400 described species) family of flies (Diptera), distributed worldwide. In buildings, they are often taken at windows, hence the common name window flies.

The two species with cosmopolitan distributions are associated with the movement of trade goods (Scenopinus fenestralis and S. glabrifrons). Very little is known of the larval biology; larvae have been found associated with stored-grain pests, in nests of birds and rodents, in beetle larvae burrows in trees and shrubs, and in association with therevid larvae in soil. They may be predators of the larvae of other insects. Adults have sponging mouthparts and are found on open flowers.


Stenopogoninae is a subfamily of robber flies in the family Asilidae. There are more than 70 genera and 740 described species in Stenopogoninae.


The Therevidae are a family of flies of the superfamily Asiloidea commonly known as stiletto flies. The family contains about 1,600 described species worldwide, most diverse in arid and semiarid regions with sandy soils. The larvae are predators of insect larvae in soil.


Therevinae is a subfamily of stiletto flies in the family Therevidae. There are at least 20 genera and 140 described species in Therevinae.

Extant Diptera families


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