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The Diptera, or true flies, are a huge group of insects that are familiar to most people. Worldwide there are about 153,000 validly described specie of flies, making them about 10% of the known diversity of life. Experts believe that most species of flies still have not been collected or described, however, and if all were known the group could number a million or more. Such an enormous number of species, coupled with their small body size, and the paucity of researchers working on them, makes Diptera one of the true frontiers of systematic research. Flies are found worldwide on every continent, with few species living in Antarctica and with tremendous numbers in tropical regions. There is no analysis comparing the number of species of Diptera from different continents or biogeographical regions, but use of the existing Diptera catalogs (some of which are badly out of date) leads to the impression that the Palearctic (Old World temperate) Region is the area with the most species of flies. This is purely an artifact of research effort, however, with generations of European dipterists working on their local fauna while tropical regions remained virtually untouched. An informal survery of the some of the authors of chapters in the Manual of Central American Diptera reinforces the more logical conclusion that the New World tropics, including Central America, are the most species-rich areas of the world for flies. Last indexed September 19, 2013