Thistle's picture

An anthomyiid fly (Anthomyiidae)

Observed: 20th July 2013 By: ThistleThistle’s reputation in InvertebratesThistle’s reputation in InvertebratesThistle’s reputation in InvertebratesThistle’s reputation in InvertebratesThistle’s reputation in Invertebrates
An anthomyiid fly (Anthomyiidae)

A fly on a Marsh Marigold flower. Where's a good place to start in learning to identify these critters?
Edit: Changed to match Martin's ID. Many thanks.

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Mydaea's picture

It looks like an Anthomyiid.

It looks like an Anthomyiid. One of the more demanding families to identify species, so maybe start with something simpler.

grant burleigh's picture


I didn't see this fly there but I often start with the NatureSpot gallery for flies and other creatures

Roger Morris's picture

A difficult group of flies

A difficult group of flies that require the use of a microscope and keys. If an Anthomyid then there is no proper key but a developing guide to the male capsule - females are not worth bothering with I suspect.

I would start in some easier groups and develop skill. Those with good keys include the Hovers, larger brachycera, Dolichopodidae, Tephritidae, Empididae.Choose a family and get to know it and start to develop the skill of finding the characters. Don't over-extend yourself in the early years and gradually grow skills.

Thistle's picture


My ignorance is showing. Being able to recognise families would be a good start!


Martin Harvey's picture

Fly familes

It's always tricky sorting out families to start with - many fly families are fairly distinctive once you are familiar with them, but how do you get familiar?

To get a feel for what the different families look like, you can start here on iSpot by going to:

and clicking on "This taxon contains:" - you'll then see a list of the Diptera families, many of which have observations on iSpot that you can click through to and browse.

The NatureSpot gallery mentioned above is very good:

and other good ones are from Eakring Birds:

and from Steven Falk:
http:[email protected]/collections/72157629586945825/

There is also a very comprehensive worldwide fly family photo gallery on

and on the American bug-guide site:

Those will help give you a feel for the general appearance of fly families, some of which (such as robberflies and many hoverflies) are quite distinctive as a group. But there are also quite a few groups that require more detailed examination to be certain of which family they fall into, including many of those in the 'acalypterate' and 'calypterate' parts of the fly classification (the fly in your obseravtion here is from the calypterate group). Although there are some distinctive flies in these groups, for others it will be a case of keying them to be certain of the family, and this often requires having a specimen under a microscope.

I like the FSC key to fly families, which is available as a free pdf download - look for year 1981 in this table:

There is also an excellent key to families available free to members of Dipterists Forum:

And some people like the 'Delta Intkey' system, which allows you to download and run a multi-access key to Diptera familes:

Entomologist and biological recorder

Thistle's picture


Martin, very many thanks. That is fantastically helpful and I greatly appreciate the time and effort you've put into it for me. I'll look forward to following those links and trying to extend my little knowledge.

I wonder if there could be a place on iSpot for this and other posts like it? I'm sure many others would appreciate it too.

Thanks again.