Sciomyza simplex, copyright Gr. Dick.

Belongs within: Sciomyzoidea.
Contains: Tetanocerini.

The Sciomyzidae are a group of flies whose larvae are mostly predators or parasitoids of molluscs or (rarely) annelids. Most species attack gastropods; the North American Renocera brevis feeds on fingernail clams (Knutson 1987). The larvae of one species, Atrichomelina pubera, have been recorded varying between parasitic, predatory or saprophagous behaviour depending on circumstances (Marinoni & Knutson 2010).

Characters (from Marinoni & Knutson 2010): Adults small to large (body length 2–13 mm), mostly yellow to brown, sometimes black. Head with antenna porrect, pedicel usually elongate; arista bare to plumose; ocellar setae usually present; inner and outer vertical setae developed; postocellar setae parallel or slightly divergent. Face slightly to strongly concave, uniformly sclerotised; vibrissa absent; clypeus small, withdrawn. Thorax with zero or one proepisternal seta; zero or one presutural supra-alar; zero to two postalars; zero or one postpronotal; usually two notopleural; usually two pairs of scutellar setae. Wing elongate, completely hyaline to patterned; C and Sc complete; C unbroken; A1 + CuA2 reaching margin. Legs slender; some or all tibiae with preapical dorsal seta. Male terminalia symmetrical to asymmetrical; tergite 6 usually absent; right spiracles 6 and 7 mostly in tergite; epandrium well developed, symmetrical; usually with anterior and posterior surstylus, sometimes anterior one vestigial or absent; cercus well developed, setose. Female sternites 6, 7 and 8 separate or fused; two spermathecae present. Egg length 0.6–2 mm; white or yellowish, often becoming brown or grey as larva develops; usually unicolorous. Mostly oval, with dorsal surface often less convex than ventral surface. Each end usually with low or prominent tubercle, anterior tubercle often reduced. Micropyle terminal or subterminal. Chorion slightly reticulate or with ridges and grooves. Larva white, integument transparent, diaphanous (semi-terrestrial and terrestrial species), or brownish or yellowish (aquatic species). Third instar with elongate and cylindrical body, tapered anteriorly; posterior spiracular disc surrounded by two to five pairs of short to elongate lobes. Surface smooth or with areas of microscopic spinules. Aquatic species with elongate float hairs between posterior spiracular slits; float hairs much reduced in terrestrial species. Cephalopharyngeal species in first three segments, long, with paired mandibles; ventral area connected posterolaterally on each side of mandibles; mandibles with or without row of accessory teeth. Puparium with integument opaque, yellowish, reddish-brown to dark brown or almost black. Ovoid, barrel-shaped, tapered at both ends, posterior spiracles in most aquatic species elevated above dorsum.

<==Sciomyzidae [Tetanoceridae] MK10
    |--Renocera K87 [Renocerinae MK10]
    |    `--R. brevis K87
    |--Salticella S68 [Salticellinae MK10]
    |    `--S. fasciata S68
    `--Sciomyzinae MK10
         |  i. s.: Dichaetophora CM70
         |--+--Tetanocerini WT11
         |  `--Neolimnia WT11 [Neolimniinae MK10]
         |       `--N. obscura WT11
         `--Sciomyzini MK10
              |--Atrichomelina pubera MK10
              |--Neuzina diminuta MK10
              |--Calliscia MK10
              |--Parectinocera MK10
              |--Colobaea americana K87
              |--Oidematops ferrugineus K87
              |--Pteromicra MK10
              |    |--P. inermis A71
              |    `--P. pleuralis K87
              |--Ditaeniella MK10
              |    |--D. parallela MK10
              |    `--D. patagonensis MK10
              |--Pherbellia WT11
              |    |--P. annulipes WT11
              |    |--P. dorsata K87
              |    |--P. maculata K87
              |    `--P. trabeculata MK10
              `--Sciomyza K87
                   |--S. aristalis K87
                   |--S. cinerella K01
                   |--S. florissantensis K87
                   |--S. rufiventris K01
                   `--S. simplex S68

Sciomyzidae incertae sedis:
  Tetanura pallidiventris S68
  Coremacera marginata S68
  Dictyodes MK10
  Perilimnia MK10
  Shannonia MK10
  Calobaea bifasciella PB27
  Ctenulus PB27
    |--C. pectoralis PB27
    `--C. punctatus PB27
  Knutsonia RD77
  Palaeoheteromyza P92
  Prophaeomyia P92
  Prosalticella P92
  Sepedonites P92

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A71] Askew, R. R. 1971. Parasitic Insects. Heinemann Educational Books: London.

[CM70] Colless, D. H., & D. K. McAlpine. 1970. Diptera (flies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 656–740. Melbourne University Press.

[K01] Kertész, K. 1901. Legyek [Dipteren]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 179–201. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[K87] Knutson, L. V. 1987. Sciomyzidae. In: McAlpine, J. F. (ed.) Manual of Nearctic Diptera vol. 2 pp. 927–940. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada.

[MK10] Marinoni, L., & L. Knutson. 2010. Sciomyzidae (snail-killing flies, marsh flies). In: Brown, B. V., A. Borkent, J. M. Cumming, D. M. Wood, N. E. Woodley & M. A. Zumbado (eds) Manual of Central American Diptera vol. 2 pp. 1017–1024. NRC Research Press: Ottawa.

[PB27] Pilsbry, H. A., & J. Bequaert. 1927. The aquatic mollusks of the Belgian Congo, with a geographical and ecological account of Congo malacology. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 53 (2): 69–602, pls 10–77.

[P92] Poinar, G. O., Jr. 1992. Life in Amber. Stanford University Press: Stanford.

[RD77] Richards, O. W., & R. G. Davies. 1977. Imms' General Textbook of Entomology 10th ed. vol. 2. Classification and Biology. Chapman and Hall: London.

[S68] Steyskal, G. C. 1968. The number and kind of characters needed for significant numerical taxonomy. Systematic Zoology 17 (4): 474–477.

[WT11] Wiegmann, B. M., M. D. Trautwein, I. S. Winkler, N. B. Barr, J.-W. Kim, C. Lambkin, M. A. Bertone, B. K. Cassel, K. M. Bayless, A. M. Heimberg, B. M. Wheeler, K. J. Peterson, T. Pape, B. J. Sinclair, J. H. Skevington, V. Blagoderov, J. Caravas, S. N. Kutty, U. Schmidt-Ott, G. E. Kampmeier, F. C. Thompson, D. A. Grimaldi, A. T. Beckenbach, G. W. Courtney, M. Friedrich, R. Meier & D. K. Yeates. 2011. Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 108 (14): 5690–5695.

Last updated: 29 June 2021.

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