The Corethrellidae are a family of biting midges, small flying insects belonging to the order Diptera, that are commonly known to feed on the blood of frogs. The members of the family are sometimes known as "frog-biting midges". The family currently consists of just two genera, totalling around 97 species worldwide. Several fossil species are known. Most extant species are found in the lower latitudes, usually associated around the tropics.[1]

They are tiny flies with a wing length of 0.6-2.5 mm. The wing venation is similar to Culicidae (R 4 branched, M 2 branched,Cu 2 branched) with branches of Rs and M nearly parallel. R1 is, however, closer to Sc or almost midway between Sc and R2.They were until 1986 placed as a subfamily of Culicidae.

Adult female Corethrella are attracted to the mating calls of male frogs, their chosen host taxa. As obligate external parasites, the midges feed almost exclusively on the blood of these frogs. Because of this, Corethrella follow typical distribution patterns of external parasites and are restricted to only areas with abundant populations of their host frogs. Female midges most likely detect their hosts using a specialized organ called a Johnston's organ, a collection of sensory cells found on the second antenna segment. There is evidence of host specificity and selection of particular biting sites for some species.[1] Corethrella species have been observed sucking blood from individuals of the tree frog genus Hyla. Specifically, the North American tree frog species Hyla avivoca, Hyla cinerea and Hyla gratiosa were recorded as confirmed corethrellid hosts in a 1977 study.[2]

A few, select species are known vectors of frog-specific species of the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma. Corethrellid parasitism is thus a recorded cause of trypanosomiasis among host frog populations.[1][3]

The family contains members that date to the lower Cretaceous Period some 110 million years ago. At least one species, Corethrella andersoni, has been found in Burmese amber deposits dating from this time.[4]

Temporal range: Cretaceous-Recent, 110–0 Ma
Corethrella wing veins
Wing venation R1 is short
Scientific classification

Corethrella Freeman, 1962[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Art Borkent (2008). "The Frog-Biting Midges of the World (Corethrellidae: Diptera)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1804: 456 pp. ISBN 978-1-86977-212-3. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
  2. ^ S. McKeever (1977). "Observations of Corethrella feeding on tree frogs (Hyla)". Mosquito News. 37: 522–523.
  3. ^ Sturgis McKeever & Frank E. French (2000). "Corethrellidae (Diptera), Vectors of Present and Perhaps Some of the Earliest Anuran Trypanosomes". Department of Biology, Georgia Southern University. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  4. ^ George O. Poinar & Ryszard Szadziewski (2007). "Corethrella andersoni (Diptera: Corethrellidae), A new species from Lower Cretaceous Burmese amber". Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 109 (1): 155–159.


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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.


Calyptratae is a subsection of Schizophora in the insect order Diptera, commonly referred to as the calyptrate muscoids (or simply calyptrates). It consists of those flies which possess a calypter that covers the halteres, among which are some of the most familiar of all flies, such as the house fly.

About 18,000 described species are in this group, or about 12% of all the flies yet described.


The Chaoboridae, commonly known as phantom midges or glassworms, are a family of fairly common midges with a cosmopolitan distribution. They are closely related to the Corethrellidae and Chironomidae; the adults are differentiated through peculiarities in wing venation.

If they eat at all, the adults feed on nectar. The larvae are aquatic and unique in their feeding method: the antennae of phantom midge larvae are modified into grasping organs slightly resembling the raptorial arms of a mantis, with which they capture prey. They feed largely on small insects such as mosquito larvae and crustaceans such as Daphnia. The antennae impale or crush the prey, and then bring it to the larval mouth, or stylet.

The larvae swim and sometimes form large swarms in their lacustrine habitats.


The Chironomoidea are a superfamily within the order Diptera, suborder Nematocera, infraorder Culicomorpha. This superfamily contains the families Chironomidae, Ceratopogonidae, Simuliidae, and Thaumaleidae. One of the more important characteristics used to define them is the form of the larval mouthparts.


Corethrella is a genus of midges that are classified in the family Corethrellidae.

Corethrella brakeleyi

Corethrella brakeleyi is a species of frog-biting midge in the family Corethrellidae.

Corethrella marksae

Corethrella marksae is a species of frog-biting midge in the family Corethrellidae first circumscribed in 1986 by entomologist D. H. Colless, who named it in honor of Dr. Elizabeth Nesta Marks. It is the type species for the marksae species-group.The type specimens of C. marksae were collected from a "small, pebbly back-water of a flowing river" in Australia.


The Culicoidea are a superfamily within the order Diptera. The following families are included within the Culicoidea:

Dixidae – meniscus midges

Corethrellidae – frog-biting midges

Chaoboridae – phantom midges

Culicidae – mosquitoes


The Culicomorpha are an infraorder of Nematocera, including mosquitoes, black flies, and several extant and extinct families of insects.


The Lauxanioidea are a superfamily of flies that includes the two large families, the Lauxaniidae and Chamaemyiidae, and the small family Celyphidae. Generally, they are small to medium, densely populated, coloured flies. The Chamaemyiidae and Cremifaniidae live as parasites on insects. The family Celyphidae look like beetles.

Some authors also recognize the family Cremifaniidae, but most place this in the Chamaemyiidae.


Muscoidea is a superfamily of flies in the subsection Calyptratae. Muscoidea, with approximately 7000 described species, is nearly 5% of the known species level diversity of the Diptera, the true flies. Most muscoid flies are saprophagous, coprophagous or necrophagous as larvae, but some species are parasitic, predatory, or phytophagous.


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.


Oestroidea is a superfamily of Calyptratae including the blow flies, bot flies, flesh flies, and their relatives.The superfamily includes the families:


Mesembrinellidae (formerly included in Calliphoridae)



Rhiniidae (formerly included in Calliphoridae)






Sciaroidea is a superfamily in the infraorder Bibionomorpha. There are about 16 families and more than 15,000 described species in Sciaroidea. Most of its constituent families are various gnats.


Sciomyzoidea is a superfamily of Acalyptratae flies.

The families placed here are:

Coelopidae – seaweed flies






Sepsidae – scavenger flies

Sciomyzidae – marsh flies, snail-killing flies (including Huttoninidae, Phaeomyiidae, Tetanoceridae)


Superfamily Tabanoidea are insects in the order Diptera.


The Tephritoidea are a superfamily of flies. The following families are included:

Pallopteridae — flutter flies

Piophilidae — skippers

Platystomatidae — signal flies



Tephritidae — fruit flies

Ulidiidae (Otitidae) — picture-winged fliesThe Tachiniscinae, formerly ranked as the family Tachiniscidae, are now included in the Tephritidae.


Tipuloidea is a superfamily of flies containing the living families Cylindrotomidae, Limoniidae, Pediciidae and Tipulidae, and the extinct families Architipulidae and Eolimnobiidae.At least 15,300 species of crane flies have been described, most of them (75%) by the specialist Charles Paul Alexander.


The Tipulomorpha are an infraorder of Nematocera, containing the crane flies, a very large group, and allied families.

One recent classification based largely on fossils splits this group into a series of extinct superfamilies (below), and includes members of other infraorders, but this has not gained wide acceptance.

Extant Diptera families


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