Flies are small flying insects belonging to the order Diptera distinguished by a mobile head, two large compound eyes, a single pair of flying-wings, and an appendage-like structure used for sucking. They exhibit excellent species diversity and are abundant almost in all parts of the world.
List of Common Types of Fly Species
been divided into two suborders, the Brachycera and Nematocera, which contains
over 150,000 officially-described fly species. However, it is estimated that
approximately 1,000,000 species may inhabit the earth today. The list below
includes the different types of fly species that are commonly found:
Physical Description and Appearance
Size: Their size varies depending on the
species. Adult houseflies, for example, are 0.24-0.28 in (6-7 mm) long while
blowflies measure 0.3-0.4 in (8-10 mm). The largest fly species in the world is
Gauromydas heros, measuring up to 2.8
in (7 cm).
Body: They have a small, streamlined body
with three segments – the head, thorax, and abdomen.
Head: Their head is mobile, bearing a
pair of antennae, two large compound eyes and three simple eyes, and the
mouthparts that include the maxilla, mandible, labium, and labrum.
Wings: Flies possess a pair of fore wings
attached to their mesothorax, and they use these for flying. They also have two
reduced hind wings (called halteres) on the posterior end of thorax.
Abdomen: It contains 11 segments, with the
last two or three being adapted for reproduction.
found in all the continents except for Antarctica. It is estimated that about
19,000 fly species exist in Europe while 20,000 species live in the sub-Saharan
Africa, eastern and southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula, southwestern
Pakistan, southern Iran, and Madagascar. About 22,000 fly species are found in North
America, 23,000 in eastern India and Southeast Asia, and 19,000 in Australasia.
What kinds of Habitats do they live in
found almost anywhere, with the larvae commonly inhabiting damp places. Fly
populations are typically the largest in humid areas.
How long do they live
mostly short-lived, and their lifespan varies depending on the species. On
average, larger fly species, including houseflies, live for about 20-30 days
while adult female mosquitos have a life expectancy of 42-56 days.
What do they eat
omnivores that feed on fruits, vegetables, meat, plant and animal secretions,
and decaying organic material. Their diet also includes grass, nectar from
flowers, and other insects. Horseflies, deer flies, and mosquitos feed on the
blood of other animals.
are generally attracted to food and rotting organic materials. Species like
fruit flies and houseflies invade homes and restaurants, laying eggs in spoiled
food and animal wastes.
undergo complete metamorphosis, with larvae emerging from eggs and developing
into pupae, which then transform into adult flies.
usually fly on a straight path, making swift changes in direction and then
flying again in a straight line. These directional changes, termed as saccades,
are achieved within 50 milliseconds.
live and fly near the ground, although some flies like the Oscinella are
dispersed by winds over vast distances and at heights of up to 2000 ft.
male flies in several species like the fruit flies, bee flies, and hoverflies
defend their territories and chase intruding males or members of other species.
hindwings of flies, modified into halteres, allow them to perform different
maneuvers during flight while helping them in balancing and guiding themselves.
have specialized chemoreceptors in their antennae, maxillae, pharynx, labium,
feet, and wing margins for detecting smell and taste. The mechanoreceptors, on
the other hand, are used for responding to touch.
fly species like the hoverfly and fruit flies have developed mimetic
resemblances for protecting themselves against predators. Hoverflies imitate
bees and wasps while the fruit flies resemble spiders.
sensory structures in certain blood-sucking species like horse flies and deer
flies help in detecting infrared emissions and then move toward the target.
How do they Reproduce and Mate
starts when a male fly approaches the female, after which he jumps towards her
and mounts her. The female pushes her tubular ovipositor into the male genital
opening to obtain sperm. The mating process lasts anywhere from half an hour to
A study has shown that male flies can
produce a lesser amount of protein in the seminal fluid and manipulate their
female partners to enhance their chances in reproductive competition.
capable of laying up to 400-500 eggs in batches of 75-100 eggs over 3-4 days. In
warm, humid weather, the eggs hatch in 12-24 hours.
1. Do flies bite?
fly species like the horsefly, deer fly, yellow fly, and mosquito bite and feed
on the blood of animals and humans.
2. Do flies sleep?
Yes. Flies usually
sleep during the night, but they also take short daytime naps. Flies can sleep
upside down, and they need places that shelter them from rain, wind, and cold.
3. Where do flies go in the winter?
species live in crevices and cracks during the winter months, away from humans. They mate in the spring, laying eggs on
4. What do fly eggs look like?
differ in sizes and shapes, depending on the species. The eggs of common
houseflies look like grains of rice.
5. Are flies attracted to light?
are naturally attracted to light.
6. Do flies have brains?
have brains that comprise three pairs of lobes – the protocerebrum,
deutocerebrum, and tritocerebrum. A fruit fly has about 100,000 neurons.
7. How do flies eat?
cannot chew, they dissolve solid food into a liquid that flows in from the
fleshy pads attached to their labella (lower lip). They regurgitate saliva,
dissolving the food into a liquefied form, and then using their proboscis to
suck it up.
8. How many legs does a fly have?
have quick reflexes that help them in escaping from predators, but their flight
speeds are relatively slow.
can mate more quickly and effectively than most insect species.
fly larvae do not have any jointed “true legs”, but some species like the
Tabanidae, Vermileonidae, and Simuliidae possess small, fleshy stub structures
(prolegs) for holding onto prey or host tissues.
all the stages of their development, flies are eaten by animals like birds,
frogs, bats, dragonflies, spiders, and lizards.
Flies can have a negative effect on the environment. Species such as fruit flies, leaf-miner flies, and gall midges are pests for food crops, while others like screwworm, tsetse flies, and botflies attack livestock and spread disease.