Not to be confused with Scatophagidae, a fish family.
Scatophaga stercoraria 1 Luc Viatour
Male Scathophaga stercoraria, the yellow dung fly
Scientific classification

  • Cordyluridae
  • Scatophagidae
  • Scopeumatidae
  • Scatomyzidae

The Scathophagidae are a small family of Muscoidea which are often known as dung flies, although this name is not appropriate except for a few species of the genus Scathophaga which do indeed pass their larval stages in animal dung. The name probably derives from the yellow dung fly, S. stercoraria, which is one of the most abundant and ubiquitous flies in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere.


For terms see Morphology of Diptera.

The Scathophagidae are medium-sized or quite small flies with a body length of 3.0 to 12.0 mm. The body is slender, especially in males, usually with an elongated, cylindrical abdomen. Many scathophagids appear more robust, however, due to a dense pubescence. Body colour body ranges from yellow to black; some species are glossy, but never with a metallic gloss. Some species are bicolored. The eyes are wide-set on the frons in males and females. The bristles on the head, thorax, and legs are well developed. The occiput usually has pale, long hairs. The arista is bare to plumose. Interfrontal bristles are absent. The wing is usually clear, but in some species has distinct marks or darkening at the tip or along the crossveins. The anal vein is long and usually reaches the wing margin. The meron is without bristles along the hind margin, near the posterior spiracle.

Hunting Cordilura on leaves of blackberry (video, 57s)


The larval biology of this family is actually quite diverse, including plant feeders (leaf miners, stem borers, or feeding in seed capsules), aquatic predators, and predators on other insect larvae in wet situations - such as piles of rotting vegetable matter, seaweed, or dung. The adults are predators on other small insects, and while they are commonly seen on flowers, they are hunting prey there, rather than acting as pollinators. They are, in fact, one of the better predators of blow flies, thus are beneficial agents of biological control. Some species are attracted to dung in great numbers. One of the best-known species of this family is Scathophaga stercoraria (Linnaeus). The reddish-brown, densely pilose males of this species gather on cattle dung and may, in parts of its range, be observed at all times of the year.

Worldwide, about 500 described species are placed in 66 genera. The great majority are found in the Palearctic and Nearctic regions and the family is almost confined to the Northern Hemisphere with only five species so far known from the Southern Hemisphere (and two of those are common northern species of Scathophaga which have probably been imported with livestock into South Africa and Brazil). The most diverse fauna is found in the Russian Far East, and many new species have been described from this area over the last few decades. Because of the northerly distribution of many species, even within the Holarctic, Vockeroth (1987) has described this as the most northerly distributed of all fly families. He reports that, of the 150 species recorded from Canada, 25 are confined to the arctic tundra.

Fifty-four species are currently recorded from the British Isles and nearly all of these have a Holarctic distribution.


These 65 genera belong to the family Scathophagidae:

  • Acanthocnema Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Acerocnema Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Allomyella Malloch, 1923 i c g
  • Amaurosoma c g
  • Americina Malloch, 1923 i c g b
  • Anthomyia i c g b
  • Anthomyza i c g b
  • Bostrichopyga c g
  • Brooksiella Vockeroth, 1987 i
  • Bucephalina Malloch, 1919 i c g
  • Ceratinostoma Meade, 1885 i c g b
  • Chaetosa Coquillett, 1898 i c g
  • Cleigastra c g
  • Cochliarium c g
  • Conisternum Strobl, 1894 g
  • Cordilura Fallen, 1810 i c g b
  • Cordylurella Malloch, 1919 i c g b
  • Cosmetopus Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Delina Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830 i c g
  • Dromogaster Vockeroth, 1995 i
  • Ernoneura Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Eupteromyia c g
  • Gimnomera Rondani, 1866 i c g
  • Gonarcticus Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Gonatherus Rondani, 1856 i c g
  • Gymnomera c g
  • Hexamitocera Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Huckettia Vockeroth, 1995 i
  • Hydromyza Fallen, 1813 i c g b
  • Jezekia c g
  • Langechristia c g
  • Leptopa c g
  • Megaphthalma Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Megaphthalmoides Ringdahl, 1936 i c g
  • Microprosopa Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Micropselapha c g
  • Miroslava c g
  • Mixocordylura c g
  • Nanna Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Neochirosia Malloch, 1917 i c g b
  • Neorthacheta Vockeroth, 1987 i c g
  • Norellia c g
  • Norellisoma Hendel, 1910 i c g
  • Okeniella Hendel, 1907 i c g
  • Opsiomyia Coquillett, 1898 g
  • Orchidophaga c g
  • Orthacheta Becker, 1894 i c g
  • Paracosmetopus c g
  • Parallelomma Becker, 1894 i c g b
  • Peratomyia Vockeroth, 1987 i
  • Phrosia c g
  • Plethochaeta i c g
  • Pleurochaetella Vockeroth, 1965 i c g
  • Pogonota Zetterstedt, 1860 i c g
  • Sargella c g
  • Scathophaga Meigen, 1803 i c g b
  • Scatogera c g
  • Scatophaga Meigen, 1803 g
  • Spathephilus c g
  • Spaziphora Rondani, 1856 i c g b
  • Staegeria Rondani, 1856 i c g
  • Suwaia c g
  • Synchysa Vockeroth, 1987 i b
  • Trichopalpus Rondani, 1856 i c g

Data sources: i = ITIS,[1] c = Catalogue of Life,[2] g = GBIF,[3] b =[4]


  1. ^ "Scathophagidae Report". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  2. ^ "Browse Scathophagidae". Catalogue of Life. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  3. ^ "Scathophagidae". GBIF. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  4. ^ "Scathophagidae Family Information". Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  • Vockeroth, V.R. (1987). "Scathophagidae". Agriculture Canada Monographs. 28: 1085–1097.

Further reading


  • K.B. Gorodkov Family Scatophagidae (Cordyluridae, Scatomyzidae, Scopeumatidae) 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 .
  • Hackman, W., 1956. The Scatophagidae (Dipt.) of Eastern Fennoscandia. Societas Fauna Flora Fennica, Fauna Fennica 2: 1-67, Fig. 1-165, Helsinki.
  • Sack, 1937. Coryluridae. In: Lindner, E. (Ed.). Die Fliegen der palaearktischen Region , 7, 62a, 1-103.
  • Séguy, E., 1934 Diptères: Brachycères. II. Muscidae acalypterae, Scatophagidae. Paris: Éditions Faune de France 28. virtuelle numérique

External links

Species lists

Americina is a genus of dung flies in the family Scathophagidae. There is at least one described species in Americina, A. adusta.


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.

Chaetosa punctipes

Chaetosa punctipes is a species of fly in the family Scathophagidae. It is found in the Palearctic .


Cordilura is a genus of dung flies in the family Scathophagidae. There are at least 90 described species in Cordilura.


Hydromyza is a genus of dung flies in the family Scathophagidae. There are at least two described species in Hydromyza.

Hydromyza confluens

Hydromyza confluens is a species of dung fly in the family Scathophagidae.


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.

Nanna (fly)

Nanna is a genus of small to medium-sized predatory flies.


The genus Norellia are small to medium sized predatory flies. Most of the species formally placed in this genus are now in the genus Norellisoma.


The genus Pogonota are small to medium sized predatory flies.


The genus Scathophaga are small to medium sized predatory flies that for the most part, have larvae that feed on other insect larva within animal dung or decaying vegetable matter. Many are highly variable, sometimes producing small, infertile males that superficially resemble females. is an example of an organism which may selectively store the sperm of multiple males, as females have three to four spermathecae.

Scathophaga furcata

Scathophaga furcata is a species of fly in the family Scathophagidae. It is found in the Palearctic .

Scathophaga inquinata

Scathophaga inquinata is a species of fly in the family Scathophagidae. It is found in the Palearctic .

Scathophaga stercoraria

Scathophaga stercoraria, commonly known as the yellow dung fly or the golden dung fly, is one of the most familiar and abundant flies in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. As its common name suggests, it is often found on the feces of large mammals, such as horses, cattle, sheep, deer, and wild boar, where it goes to breed. The distribution of S. stercoraria is likely influenced by human agriculture, especially in Northern Europe and North America. The Scathophaga are integral in the animal kingdom due to their role in the natural decomposition of dung in fields. They are also very important in the scientific world due to their short lifecycles and susceptibility to experimental manipulations, thus have contributed significant knowledge about animal behavior.

Scathophaga suilla

Scathophaga suilla is a species of fly in the family Scathophagidae. It is found in the Palearctic .


Scathophaginae is a subfamily of dung flies in the family Scathophagidae. There are at least 30 genera and 130 described species in Scathophaginae.


Not to be confused with Scathophagidae, a fly family.

The scats are a small family, Scatophagidae, of fishes in the order Perciformes.

They are small fish native to the Indian and western Pacific Oceans that have been popular in the aquarium trade in the last 30 years. Although juvenile scats may live in a freshwater environment, most adult scats prefer a brackish water environment. However, the African scat, Scatophagus tetracanthus, can and does live in fresh water in the wild. The largest species reaches 38 cm in length and some have been known to live more than 20 years in captivity given the proper water conditions. They are scavengers, feeding on algae and feces, hence their name, from Greek skatos meaning "feces" and phagein meaning "eat".


The genus Spaziphora are small to medium-sized predatory flies.

Spaziphora hydromyzina

Spaziphora hydromyzina is a species of fly in the family Scathophagidae. It is found in the Palearctic .

Extant Diptera families


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