Sepsis punctum, copyright AfroBrazilian.

Belongs within: Schizophora.

The Sepsidae are a group of mostly slender flies whose larvae feed on decaying organic matter, most commonly mammal faeces. Many species of the family are superficially ant-like in appearance and they have a habit of continuously waving the wings when at rest (Colless & McAlpine 1991). The Holarctic Orygma luctuosum is a robust, bristly species that also differs from other sepsids in the possession of three (rather than no) pairs of strong orbital bristles and a uniformly coarsely setose scutellum. As a result, it is separated in its own subfamily from the remaining species in the Sepsinae (Steyskal 1987).

Characters (from Silva 2010): Small to medium-sized (body length 2–7 mm), slender. Body usually brown to blackish, sometimes shining or with metallic purplish colour. Wing hyaline, dark spot sometimes present near tip. Head more or less globular; eye large; vibrissa absent but vibrissal angle bearing several strong setae; antenna short with arista bare; palpus usually minute. Thorax usually shining, sometimes dull dorsally; anepisternum with some whitish pruinose areas. Male forefemur and tibia often modified, with bristles, spines, tubercles or emarginations used to grasp base of wing of females during copulation. Abdomen narrow, sometimes with basal constriction.

<==Sepsidae S10
    |--Orygma [Orygmatinae] S10
    |    `--O. luctuosum KP10
    `--Sepsinae S10
         |--Toxopodini S10
         |--Saltella S87 [Saltellini S10]
         |    |--S. scutellaris K01
         |    `--S. sphondylii S87
         |--Palaeosepsis [Palaeosepsini] S10
         |    |--P. dentata S10
         |    `--P. dentatiformis S10
         `--Sepsini S10
              |--Themira putris S87
              |--Enicita annulipes S87
              |--Enicomira minor S87
              |--Meropliosepsis sexsetosa S87
              |--Decachaetophora aeneipes S87
              |--Sepsidimorpha S87
              |--Nemopoda S87
              |    |--N. cylindrica K01
              |    `--N. nitidula S87
              |--Meroplius S10
              |    |--M. albuquerquei S10
              |    `--M. stercorarius S87
              `--Sepsis S10
                   |--S. cynipsea S10
                   |--S. neocynipsea T90
                   |--S. punctum S10
                   `--S. secunda S10

Sepsidae incertae sedis:
  Lateosepsis laticornis S10
  Pseudopalaeosepsis nigricoxa S10
  Palaeosepsioides neotropicanus S10
  Australosepsis niveipennis CM91
  Parapalaeosepsis plebeia CM91
  Microsepsis S10
    |--M. armillata S10
    |--M. furcata S10
    `--M. simplicula S10
  Archisepsis S10
    |--A. discolor S10
    |--A. ecalcarata S10
    |--A. polychaeta S10
    `--A. pusio S10
  Protorygma electricum RJ93

*Type species of generic name indicated


[CM91] Colless, D. H., & D. K. McAlpine. 1991. Diptera (flies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 717–786. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[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.

[KP10] Kutty, S. N., T. Pape, B. M. Wiegmann & R. Meier. 2010. Molecular phylogeny of the Calyptratae (Diptera: Cyclorrhapha) with an emphasis on the superfamily Oestroidea and the position of Mystacinobiidae and McAlpine's fly. Systematic Entomology 35: 614–635.

[RJ93] Ross, A. J., & E. A. Jarzembowski. 1993. Arthropoda (Hexapoda; Insecta). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 363–426. Chapman & Hall: London.

[S10] Silva, V. C. 2010. Sepsidae (black scavenger 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. 1031–1039. NRC Research Press: Ottawa.

[S87] Steyskal, G. C. 1987. Sepsidae. In: McAlpine, J. F. (ed.) Manual of Nearctic Diptera vol. 2 pp. 945–950. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada.

[T90] Teskey, H. J. 1990. Insecta: Diptera larvae. In: Dindal, D. L. (ed.) Soil Biology Guide pp. 1253–1276. John Wiley & Sones: New York.

Last updated: 30 June 2021.

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