The Scenopinidae or window flies are a small (about 400 described species)[1] 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.

Scenopinus fenestralis whole insect and dissected parts
Scenopinus fenestralis 01
Scenopinus fenestralis
Scientific classification

  • Omphralidae


The adults are small insects, usually with the body no longer than 5 mm, glabrous or slightly hairy and with blackish livery. The head is holoptic in the males of most species, and dichoptic in females. It is provided with three ocelli. The pendulous antennae are composed of three segments the two basal segments short and the third elongated; ‘modified’; with a nonannulated flagellum. The mouthparts are of the sucking type with the labrum (proboscis) very short and with a fleshy apex, and one- or two-segmented maxillary palps. The thorax is moderately convex, with mesoscutal bristles in the Proratinae. The legs are short and lack arolia and empodia. The wings overlap on the abdomen, in the resting phase. The abdomen is large and cylindrical or flattened, composed of seven apparent urites in males and eight in females.


The wing venation differs substantially from that of Therevidae by the number of branches of the media which are reduced to two or three and from that of Bombyliidae in having a simpler radial system. In most of the family, the costa stops short of the wing apex, in correspondence with the termination of R 5 or M 1. An exception is Caenotus, in which the costa extends for the entire margin.

The radius is divided into four branches, with R 2+3 undivided. The entire radial system is positioned in the front half of the wing, without going beyond the axis that connects the base with the apex. R 1 and R 2+3 are relatively short and converge on the costal margin with a short distance between them. R 4 terminates on the costal margin, R 5 terminates before the apex of the wing or, in some genera, at the apex (but R 5 may also converge on the apex as in Cyrtosarthe and Pseudatrichia).

The media is divided into two or three branches. M 1 is always present and usually reaches the wing margin before or at the apex of the wing (e.g. Scenopinus, Prepseudatrichia, Caenotinae, Proratinae); in most genera of Scenopininae, R 5 closes a cell, while in Cyrtosarthe, it converges on the posterior margin; in some Australian species, belonging to the genera Scenopinus and Rekiella, M 1 is incomplete and does not reach the margin. M 2 is missing in the majority of the Scenopininae, but it is present in the Proratinae in Cyrtosarthe and Caenotus and runs into on the posterior border.

In these genera, the bifurcation of M 1+2 coincides with the front apex of the distal discal cell, or is placed in a distal position with respect to the cell. M 3 is absent in the whole family, M 4 is always present, but in Seguyia it is incomplete and does not reach the margin.

The conformation of the cells is strictly dependent on the morphology of the venation: the marginal cell is very narrow and opens as does the submarginal on the costal margin; the first rear cell is relatively long and opens close to the apex of the wing. The discal cell has a pentagonal shape (quadrangular in the Scenopininae) apparently due to the absence of vein M 2 and the first basal cell is generally much longer than the second due to the development in length of the discal and the position of the radio-medial vein .

Scenopinidae wing veins-1

Diagram of wing veins in subfamily Scenopidinae, p.a. Scenopinus

Scenopinidae wing veins-2

Diagram of wing veins in some windows flies of subfamily Scenopidinae, p.a. Pseudatrichia or Metatricha


In general, the larvae of the Scenopinidae colonize the sandy soils of arid environments or dry litter and feed by preying on other soil arthropods.Frequently, however, they are, always as predators, in other habitats, such as wood and other substrates, decomposing organic, dens and nests of mammals and birds, and sometimes domestic environments. The latter habit, derived from a secondary synanthropic adaptation, is frequent in some species of the genus Scenopinus. In this case, the larvae prey on insect pests of clothing (moths), foodstuffs (larvae of moths and beetles), wood (termites) or zooparasites associated with humans or domestic animals, such as dust mites and fleas. Adults feed on nectar and honeydew .


In the past, the family of Scenopinidae included only the current subfamily of Scenopininae, while the other genera known at that time were classified into different systematic positions. Prorates was described and classified by Melander (1906)[2] among Empididae and Caenotus was described and classified by Cole (1923)[3] among Therevidae. Subsequently taxonomist took different views. Currently Prorates Melander, Alloxytropus Bezzi, Caenotus Cole, and Caenotoides Hall (formerly the Prorates group) of the Bombyliidae subfamily Proratinae are seen as sharing apomorphies with the Scenopinidae. The Scenopinidae are divided into three subfamilies: the Caenotinae, containing Caenotus; the Proratinae containing Alloxytropus, Caenotoides, and Prorates; and the Scenopininae. An exception is Apystomyia Melander, which does not exhibit a relationship with the Scenopinidae and it is considered incertae sedis at the family level within the Muscomorpha.[4]

  • Subfamily Caenotinae. Genera:Caenotus.
  • Subfamily Proratinae. Genera: Acaenotus, Alloxytropus, Caenotoides, Jackhallia, Prorates.
  • Subfamily:Scenopininae. Genera: Belosta, Brevitrichia, Caenoneura, Heteromphrale, Irwiniana, Metatrichia, Neopseudatrichia, Paramonova, Paratrichia, Prepseudatrichia, Propebrevitrichia, Prorarites, Pseudatrichia, Pseudomphrale, Riekiella, Scenopinus, Seguya, Stenomphrale.
  • Incertae sedis. Genera: Cyrtosarthe.

 ? Scenopinidae and Therevidae

 ? Mydidae und Apioceridae

 ? Asilidae


Clade showing relationship of Asiloidea

One fossil species, Metatrichia pria from the Cenozoic, is known.[5]


The family is worldwide (Palearctic ecozone, Nearctic ecozone, Afrotropic ecozone, Neotropic ecozone, Australasian ecozone , Oceania ecozone, Indomalaya ecozone ). The Nearctic ecozone has the most species, but this may be because other parts of the world are far less intensively studied and meny new species remain undiscovered.


  1. ^ Kelsey, L.P. (1969). "A revision of the Scenopinidae (Diptera) of the world". Bulletin of the United States National Museum. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 277: 1–336. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  2. ^ Axel Leonard Melander. Diptera. Fam. Empididae. Fascicule No. 185. In P. Witsman (a cura di), Genera Insectorum. Brussels, Desmet-Verteneuil, 1928: 1-434.
  3. ^ Frank Raymond Cole (1923). A revision of the North American two-winged flies of the family Therevidae. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 62 (4): 1-140..
  4. ^ Yeates, D.M., 1992 Towards a monophyletic Bombyliidae (Diptera): the removal of the Proratinae (Diptera: Scenopinidae). American Museum Novitates 3051: 1-30.
  5. ^ Neal L. Evenhuis. Family Scenopinidae in Catalogue of the fossil flies of the world (Insecta: Diptera). Bishop Museum.
  • Kelsey, L.P. (1975) Family Scenopinidae. In M.D. Delfinado & D.E. Hardy (eds), A Catalog of the Diptera of the Oriental Region. vol. II. Suborder Brachycera- Division Aschiza, Suborder Cyclorrhapha. pp. 94–95. University Press Hawaii, Honolulu.
  • Kelsey, L.P. (1980) Family Scenopinidae. In R.W. Crosskey (ed.), Catalogue of the Diptera from the Afrotropical region, pp 321–323. British Museum (Natural History), London.
  • Kelsey, L.P. (1981) Scenopinidae. In J.F. McAlpine, B.V. Peterson, G.E. Shewell, H.J. Teskey, J.R. Vockeroth & D.M. Wood (eds), Manual of Nearctic Diptera 1: 525-528. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada Monograph, Ottawa 674 pp.
  • Kelsey, L.P. (1989) Family Scenopinidae. In N.L. Evenhuis (ed.) Catalog of Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions. pp. 350–352. Bishop Museum Special Publication. Bishop Museum Press 86: 1-1154.
  • Kelsey, L.P. & Soos, A. (1989) Family Scenopinidae. In A. Soos & L. Papp (eds.) Catalogue of Palaearctic Diptera . Therevidae-Empididae, 6: 35-43. Akadémial Kiadó, Budapest.
  • Krivosheina, N.P. (1997) Family Scenopinidae. In L. Papp & B. Darvas (eds) Contributions to a manual of Palaearctic Diptera (with special reference to flies of economic importance). Volume 2: Nematocera and lower Brachycera. pp. 531–538. Science Herald, Budapest.

External links

A Website dedicated to the Scenopinidae is at California Department of Food and Agriculture

Family description

See [1]

Species lists



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


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.

British Soldierflies and Their Allies

British Soldierflies and their allies (an illustrated guide to their identification and ecology) is a book by Alan E. Stubbs and Martin Drake, published by the British Entomological and Natural History Society in 2001. A second edition was published in 2014.It is a sequel to an earlier volume, British Hoverflies: an identification guide, and covers the following families of flies, which collectively are known as the "Larger Brachycera": Acroceridae, Asilidae, Athericidae, Bombyliidae, Rhagionidae, Scenopinidae, Stratiomyidae, Tabanidae, Therevidae, Xylomyidae and Xylophagidae.

The book introduced English names for all included species, the first time this has been done in a scientific reference work for a whole group of flies.

It contains a set of photographic plates by David Wilson.


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.

D. Elmo Hardy

Dilbert Elmo Hardy (September 3, 1914 – October 17, 2002) was an American entomologist who specialized in Diptera systematics.

Larger brachycera

The Larger brachycera is a name which refers to flies in the following families of the suborder Brachycera:

Acroceridae, the hunchback-flies

Asilidae, the robberflies

Athericidae, the water-snipeflies

Bombyliidae, the bee-flies

Rhagionidae, the snipeflies

Scenopinidae, the windowflies

Stratiomyidae, the soldierflies

Tabanidae, the horseflies

Therevidae, the stiletto-flies

Xylomyidae, the wood-soldierflies

Xylophagidae, the awl-flies

List of soldierflies and allies of Great Britain

The following is a list of the larger Brachycera recorded in Britain, this includes the soldierflies and their allies.


Metatrichia is a genus of window flies in the family Scenopinidae. There are about 16 described species in Metatrichia.

Metatrichia bulbosa

Metatrichia bulbosa is a species of window flies in the family Scenopinidae.


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)






Rhagionidae or snipe flies are a small family of flies.

Scenopinus fenestralis

Scenopinus fenestralis, the window fly, is a member of the Scenopinidae family of flies, found in Europe, including Central Europe and Southern England. It is somewhat inactive, small and black, and tends to be found resting on the windows of old buildings and outhouses. Its larvae are notable for feeding on the larvae of clothes moths and fleas, though they also eat other insects.


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.


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.

William Lundbeck

William Lundbeck (16 October 1863 in Aalborg – 18 May 1941 in Kongens Lyngby) was a Danish entomologist mainly interested in Diptera. He was a Professor in the University Museum in Copenhagen.

Lundbeck's most important work was Diptera Danica. Genera and species of flies Hitherto found in Denmark. Copenhagen & London, 1902-1927. 7 vols

The Parts of this work are

1907. Stratiomyidae, Xylophagidae, Coenomyiidae, Tabanidae, Leptididae, Acroceridae. Diptera Danica 1. Copenhagen.

1908. Asilidae, Bombyliidae, Therevidae, Scenopinidae. Diptera Danica 2. Copenhagen.

1910. Empididae. Diptera Danica 3. Copenhagen.

1912. Dolichopodidae. Diptera Danica 4. Copenhagen.

1916. Lonchopteridae, Syrphidae. Diptera Danica 5. Copenhagen.

1922. Pipunculidae, Phoridae. Diptera Danica 6. Copenhagen.

1927. Platypezidae, Tachinidae. Diptera Danica 7. Copenhagen.

Extant Diptera families


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