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).

Undescribed psiloderoidine genus from Australia.
Scientific classification

Melander , 1902
  • Psiloderoidinae
  • Platypyginae
  • Glabellulinae
  • Empidideicinae
  • Leylaiyinae
  • Mythicomyiinae


  • Acridophagus Evenhuis, 1983
  • Ahessea Greathead & Evenhuis, 2001
  • Borissovia Evenhuis, 2003
  • Carmenelectra Evenhuis, 2003
  • Cephalodromia Becker, 1914
  • Cyrtisiopsis Séguy, 1930
  • Cyrtosia Perris, 1839
  • Doliopteryx Hesse, 1938
  • Elachymyia Hall & Evenhuis, 1987
  • Empidideicus Becker, 1907
  • Eurodoliopteryx Nel, 2006
  • Glabellula Bezzi, 1902
  • Glella Greathead & Evenhuis, 2001
  • Hesychastes Evenhuis, 2002
  • Heterhybos Brèthes, 1919
  • Leylaiya Efflatoun, 1945
  • Mnemomyia Bowden, 1975
  • Mythenteles Hall & Evenhuis, 1986
  • Mythicomyia Coquillett, 1893
  • Nexus Hall & Evenhuis, 1987
  • Onchopelma Hesse, 1938
  • Palaeoplatypygus Kovalev, 1985
  • Paraconsors Hall & Evenhuis, 1987
  • Pieza Evenhuis, 2002
  • Platypygus Loew, 1844
  • Procyrtosia Zaitzev, 1986
  • Proplatypygus Hennig, 1969
  • Pseudoglabellula Hesse, 1967
  • Psiloderoides Hesse, 1967
  • Reissa Evenhuis & Baéz, 2001


  • Evenhuis, N.L., 2002. Catalog of the Mythicomyiidae of the world.Bishop Museum Bulletin in Entomology 10: 1-85. established classification of the family.
  • Greathead, D.J. & N.L. Evenhuis, 1997. Family Bombyliidae. In: Contributions to a Manual of Palaearctic Diptera Volume 2 (L. Papp & B. Darvas, eds.): 487-512. Science Herald, Budapest. provide a key to the Palaearctic genera.
  • Greathead, D.J. & N.L. Evenhuis, 2001. Annotated keys to the genera of African Bombylioidea (Diptera: Bombyliidae; Mythicomyiidae). African Invertebrates 42: 105-224. good illustrated keys to African genera.
  • Zaitzev, V.F. 1991. the phylogeny and system of dipterous insects of the superfamily Bombylioidea (Diptera). Entomologicheskoe Obozreniye 70: 716-736. [English translation, 1992, in Entomological Review 71(4): 94-114.]

External links


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


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.


Carmenelectra is an extinct genus of fly belonging to the family Mythicomyiidae and containing a single species Carmenelectra shechisme.


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.


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.

Cyrtosia (fly)

Cyrtosia is a genus of insects in the family Mythicomyiidae.


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

Glabellula crassicornis

Glabellula crassicornis is a species of micro bee flies in the family Mythicomyiidae.


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.


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)






Pieza is a genus of flies in the family Mythicomyiidae. Its species are found in North America, South America, and the West Indies. The genus was named by Neal Evenhuis in 2002. Evenhuis included the following eleven species, transferring four from Mythicomyia, in his initial circumscription:

P. agnastis (Hall, 1976) — Chile (Maule, Santiago)

P. angusta (Melander, 1961) — United States (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) and Mexico (Baja California, Jalisco, Sonora, Tamaulipas)

P. deresistans Evenhuis, 2002 — northern Venezuela

†P. dominicana Evenhuis, 2002 — Dominican amber, Miocene

P. flavitibia Evenhuis, 2002 — northern Venezuela

P. kake Evenhuis, 2002 — Brazil (Minas Gerais)

P. minuta (Greene, 1924) — United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico) and Mexico (Baja California Sur, Sonora)

P. ostenta (Melander, 1961) — United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, Utah) and Mexico (Baja California Sur, Sonora)

P. pi Evenhuis, 2002 — Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Mexico (Morelos)

P. rhea Evenhuis, 2002 — United States (Florida)

P. sinclairi Evenhuis, 2002 — Curaçao, Dominican Republic; introduced to Galápagos IslandsAs of 2018, Pieza still consists of these eleven species.


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.


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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