The family Sciomyzidae belongs to the typical flies (Brachycera) of the order Diptera. They are commonly called marsh flies, and in some cases snail-killing flies due to the food of their larvae.

Here, the Huttoninidae, Phaeomyiidae and Tetanoceridae are provisionally included in the Sciomyzidae. Particularly the latter seem to be an unequivocal part of this group and are ranked as tribe of subfamily Sciomyzinae by most modern authors, while the former two are very small lineages that may or may not stand outside the family and are provisionally ranked as subfamilies here. Whether the Salticellinae and the group around Sepedon warrant recognition as additional subfamilies or are better included in the Sciomyzinae proper is likewise not yet entirely clear. Altogether, the main point of contention is the relationship between the "Huttoninidae", "Phaeomyiidae", Sciomyzidae sensu stricto, and the Helosciomyzidae which were also once included in the Sciomyzidae.

Sciomyzidae are found in all the Ecozones but are poorly represented in the Australasian and Oceanian Regions.

Croat fg122
Imago of unidentified species, Brseč (Croatia)
Scientific classification

Huttonininae (disputed)
Phaeomyiinae (disputed)
Salticellinae (disputed)


Huttoninidae (disputed)
Phaeomyiidae (disputed)

Pherbellia annulipes hunting on decaying wood (video, 1m 6s)
Limnia unguicornis on a blade of grass (video, 34s)


For terms see Morphology of Diptera. Sciomyzidae are small or medium-sized (2–14 mm), usually slender flies with predominantly dull grey, brown, reddish or yellow body, rarely black-lustrous. Wings hyaline, often with dark spots or dark reticulate pattern. The head is semispherical or round. The antennae are usually elongate and the arista is pubescent or has shorter or longer hairs. Ocelli and ocellar bristles are present (absent in Sepedon). The postvertical bristles are divergent or parallel. There are one or two pairs of frontal bristles which curve backward (the lower pair sometimes curving inward) Interfrontal bristles are absent but interfrontal setulae are sometimes present. Vibrissae are absent. The wing is clear or with conspicuous markings. The costa is continuous and the subcosta is complete. Crossvein BM-Cu is present and the anal cell (cell cup) is closed. Tibiae almost always have a dorsal preapical bristle.


Marsh flies are common along the edges of ponds and rivers, and in marshy areas. The adults drink dew and nectar. The larvae prey on or become parasites of gastropods (slugs and snails). The occasional sciomyzid attacks snail eggs or fingernail clams.[1] Very little is known about the complete life cycle of these flies but most of the known larvae are semi-aquatic and some are aquatic. Other species have terrestrial larvae. Larvae mainly prey on non-operculate snails. Some species which prey on bivalves have larvae adapted to breathing under water. In some terrestrial species the penultimate larval instar emerges from the snail or slug it developed in. The last instar is then predatory on several snails.

The adults rest on vegetation head down. According to the larval habitat, they are found near water, in marshy vegetation,in woodland or occasionally dry open habitats.


  • Shtakel'berg, A.A. Family Sciomyzidae 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.
  • Séguy, E. (1934) Diptères: Brachycères. II. Muscidae acalypterae, Scatophagidae. Paris: Éditions Faune de France 28. virtuelle numérique

Species Lists


  1. ^ Foote, B.A.; Knutson, L.V.; Keiper, J.B. (1999). "The snail-killing flies of Alaska (Diptera: Sciomyzidae)". Insecta Mundi. 13 (1–2): 45–71. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  2. ^ Papp, László (2004). "Description of the first apterous genus of Sciomyzidae (Diptera), from Nepal". Revue Suisse de Zoologie; Annales de la Société Zoologique Suisse et du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Genève. 111 (1): 57–62. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Cresson, Ezra Townsend (1920). "A Revision of the Nearctic Sciomyzidae (Diptera, Acalyptratae)". Transactions of the American Entomological Society. 46 (1): 27–89. JSTOR 25077025.
  4. ^ a b Steyskal, G C; Knutson, L V (1975). "Key to the genera of Sciomyzidae (Diptera) from the Americas south of the United States, with descriptions of two new genera". Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 77: 274–277. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  5. ^ Sack, Pius (1939). "Sciomyzidae". Die Fliegen der Palaearktischen Region. 125 (1, 2, 3).
  6. ^ Marinoni, Luciane; Zumbado, Manuel A.; Knutson, Lloyd. "A new genus and species of Sciomyzidae (Diptera) from the Neotropical Region". Zootaxa. 540 (1). ISSN 1175-5334.
  7. ^ Becker, Theodor (1919). Diptères, brachycères. Mission du Service Geographique de l'Armée pour la mesure d'un arc de méridien équatorial en Amérique du Sud sous le contrôle scientifique de l'Académie des Sciences, 1899-1906. Paris: Gauthier-Villars. p. 163. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Malloch, John Russell (1933). "Acalyptrata; Heleomyzidae, Trypetidae, Sciomyzidae, Sapromyzidae". Diptera of Patagonia and South Chile. 6 (4): 177–389.
  9. ^ a b Enderlein, Günther (1939). "Zur Kenntnis der Klassifikation der Tetanoceriden (Diptera)". Veröffentlichungen aus dem Deutschen Kolonial- und Übersee-Museum in Bremen. 2 (3): 201–210.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Knutson, Lloyd Vernon; Vala, Jean-Claude (2011). Biology of Snail-Killing Sciomyzidae Flies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–526. ISBN 978-0521867856.
  11. ^ a b c d Verbeke, J. (1950). "Sciomyzidae (Diptera Cyclorrhapha)" (PDF). Exploration du Parc National Albert (Mission G. F. DE WITTE, 1933-1935). 63: 1–97. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b c Tonnoir, A. L.; Malloch, J. R. (1928). "New Zealand Muscidae Acalyptratae. Part IV. Sciomyzidae". Records of the Canterbury Museum. 3 (3): 151–179.
  13. ^ a b Barnes, Jeffrey K. (1980). "Taxonomy of the New Zealand genus Eulimnia, and biology and immature stages of E. philpotti (Diptera: Sciomyzidae)". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 7: 91–103. doi:10.1080/03014223.1980.10423766.
  14. ^ Steyskal, George C. (1954). "Colobaea and Hedria, Two Genera of Sciomyzidae New to America (Diptera: Acalyptratae)". The Canadian Entomologist. 86 (2): 60–65.
  15. ^ Elberg, K. J. (1965). "New palaearctic genera and species of flies of the family Sciomyzidae (Diptera, Acalyptratae)". Ent. Rev. 44 (1): 104–109.
  16. ^ Mayer, Helmut (1953). "Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Sciomyzidae (Dipt. Musc. acalyptr.)" (PDF). Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien. 59: 202–219. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  17. ^ a b Hendel, F. (1900). "Untersuchungen über die europäischen Arten der Gattung Tetanocera im Sinne Schiner's. Eine dipterologische Studie". Verhandlungen der Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien. 50: 319–358.
  18. ^ a b Steyskal, George C. (1973). "A New Classification of the Sepedon Group of the Family Sciomyzidae (Diptera) with Two New Genera". Entomological News. 84: 143–146. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  19. ^ Ghorpade, Kumar; Marinoni, Luciane; Knutson, Lloyd (1999). "Steyskalina picta, new genus and species of Tetanocerini (Diptera, Sciomyzidae) from the Oriental Region". Revista Brasileira de Zoologia. 16 (3): 835–839. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  20. ^ Hennig, Willi (1952). "Bemerkenswerte neue Acalyptraten in der Sammlung des Deutschen Entomologischen Institutes (Diptera: Acalyptrata)". Beiträge zur Entomologie. 2 (6): 604–618. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  21. ^ Perty, M. (1833). Delectus animalium articulatorum quae in itinere per Brasiliam annis MDCCCXVII-MDCCCXX jussu et auspiciis Maximiliani Josephi I. Bavariae regis augustissimi peracto collegerunt Dr. J.B. de Sphix et Dr. C.F. Ph. De Martius. Munich. pp. 189, pl. 37.
  22. ^ Knutson, L. V. (1968). "A new genus and species of Sciomyzidae from Tanzania, with a key to the genera of the Ethiopian Region and distributional notes". Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa. 31 (1): 175–180.

Further reading

  • Rozkošný, R., 1984 The Sciomyzidae (Diptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, 14 ISBN 90-04-07592-5 Hardback (224 pp., 639 figures, in English)
  • Lloyd Vernon Knutson and Jean-Claude Vala, 2011Biology of Snail-Killing Sciomyzidae Flies Cambridge University Press ISBN 9780521867856

External links


The Acalyptratae or Acalyptrata are a subsection of the Schizophora, which are a section of the order Diptera, the "true flies". In various contexts the Acalyptratae also are referred to informally as the acalyptrate muscoids, or acalyptrates, as opposed to the Calyptratae. All forms of the name refer to the lack of calypters in the members of this subsection of flies. An alternative name, Acalypterae is current, though in minority usage. It was first used by Justin Pierre Marie Macquart in 1835 for a section of his tribe Muscides; he used it to refer to all acalyptrates plus scathophagids and phorids, but excluding Conopidae.

The confusing forms of the names stem from their first usage; Acalyptratae and Acalyptrata actually are adjectival forms in New Latin. They were coined in the mid 19th century in contexts such as "Muscae Calyptratae and Acalyptratae" and "Diptera Acalyptrata", and the forms stuck.The Acalyptratae are a large assemblage, exhibiting very diverse habits, with one notable and perhaps surprising exception: no known acalyptrates are obligate blood-feeders (hematophagous), though blood feeding at various stages of the life history is common throughout other Dipteran sections.


Apteromicra parva is a wingless species of fly in the family Sciomyzidae from Nepal. It is the only described species in the genus Apteromicra.


Ditaeniella is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.

Limnia (fly)

Limnia is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.

Neodictya jakovlevi

Neodictya jakovlevi is a species of fly in the family Sciomyzidae. It is found in the Palearctic.


Neolimnia is a New Zealand genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.


Pherbellia is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies. They occur throughout the world, except for the Subantarctic region.Like many Sciomyzidae, species of this genus have larvae that are predators or parasitoids of snails. The larva of P. albovaria, for example, eats land snails such as Anguispira alternata and A. fergusoni, and then pupates in the empty shell. The P. albocostata larva eats up to five snails and then pupates in the ground litter next to the last empty shell. The larva of P. inflexa attacks the glass snail Zonitoides arboreus.P. punctata is a parasitoid on the amber snail Succinea putris. P. anubis larvae feed on several types of freshwater snails along the edges of ponds and marshes. Several Pherbellia are predators of the pond snail Stagnicola palustris. While most snail-killing flies target land and freshwater pulmonate snails, P. prefixa preys on the mossy valvata (Valvata sincera), which is an operculate snail in the valve snail family.As of 2012 there were about 95 species in the genus.


Psacadina is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.


Sciomyza is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.


Sciomyzinae is a subfamily of flies in the family Sciomyzidae.


Sciomyzini is a tribe of flies in the family Sciomyzidae.


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)


Sepedon is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.


Shannonia is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.


Sphaeriidae is a family of small to minute freshwater bivalve molluscs in the order Sphaeriida. In the US, they are commonly known as pea clams or fingernail clams.


Tetanocera is a genus of marsh flies, insects in the family Sciomyzidae. There are at least 50 described species in Tetanocera.


Tetanocerini is a tribe of flies in the family Sciomyzidae. There are at least 120 described species in the tribe.


Tetanura is a genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.


Verbekaria is an african genus of flies in the family Sciomyzidae, the marsh flies or snail-killing flies.

Extant Diptera families


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