Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 3517
Specimens with Sequences: 3190
Specimens with Barcodes: 3057
Species: 238
Species With Barcodes: 207
Public Records: 146
Public Species: 25
Public BINs: 41
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Ephydridae (shore fly, sometimes brine fly) is a family of insects in the order Diptera.

Shore flies are tiny flies that can be found near seashores or at smaller inland waters, such as ponds. About 1,500 species have been described worldwide, including Ochthera.

The petroleum fly, Helaeomyia petrolei, is the only known insect whose larvae live in naturally occurring crude petroleum.

Hyadina pulchella note the patterned wings, wide mouth and (on upper side) plumose arista
Discomyza wing veins


For terms see Morphology of Diptera

Minute to small (0.9 to 7.0 mm.) flies, black or gray.Wings sometimes patterned. Costa with two interruptions in first section (near the humeral cross-vein and again near the end of vein 1.Second basal cell not separated from discal cell.Arista bare or with hairs on the upper side (plumose on the upper side).Mouth opening very large in some species.Ratio of vertical diameter of eye and height of gena (face index) widely used in identification of species.

See Family description and images


In the subfamily Notiphilinae the head is reduced to a cephalic skeleton, there are no anterior spiracles and the posterior spiracles are extended as spines. The other subfamilies have larvae similar to the Sciomyzidae, with the posterior spiracles at the apices of divergent branches from a common base. They may be differentiated by short thoracic segments (like the abdominal ones) and by the absence of a ventral arch linking the mouth hooks.


  • Andersson, H. (1971), The European species of Limnellia (Dipt., Ephydridae). Entomologica Scandinavica 2: 53–59.Key to European species.
  • Becker, T. (1926), Ephydridae. 56a. In: Lindner, E. (Ed.). Die Fliegen der palaearktischen Region 6: 1–115. Keys to Palaearctic species but now needs revision (in German).
  • Canzoneri, S. & Meneghini, D. (1983), Ephydridae e Canaceidae. Fauna d’Italia XX.Revision of the Italian species for these two families (in Italian).
  • Mathis, W.N. & Zatwarnicki, T. (1990), A revision of the western Palaearctic species of Athyroglossa (Diptera: Ephydridae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 116: 103–133. Revision of the West Palaearctic species of the genus.
  • E.P. Narchuk Family Ephydridae in Bei-Bienko, G. Ya, 1988 Keys to the insects of the European Part of the USSR Volume 5 (Diptera) Part 2 English edition.
  • Zatwarnicki, T. (1997), Ephydridae. In: Nilsson, A. (Ed.) Aquatic Insects of North Europe (A Taxonomic Handbook). Apollo Books, Stenstrup, Denmark. Includes a key (in English) to the genera.


Ephydridae occupy a diverse array of seashore and wetland habitats including hot springs, petroleum pools, salt pools, alkaline lakes, marshes. Imago phytophagous, sometimes feeds on microscopic algae and bacteria (Paracoenia, Ephydra), or predatory (Ochthera, Ephydrinae). As larvae, many are phytophagous, grazing on aquatic plants (including cultivated rice), others are algal grazers or saprophagous. Larvae of Trimerina are predatory. Some species are an important food source for other animals. Others cause damage to agricultural crops.[1]

Larvae of some Ephydridae live in very unusual habitats. For example, Ephydra brucei lives in hot springs and geysers where the water temperature exceeds 45 degrees Celsius; some Scatella live in hot sulphur springs; Helaeomyia petrolei develops in pools of crude oil; and Ephydra cinera, the brine fly proper, in pools with very high concentrations of salt. Some have public health significance being associated with sewage filter beds and septic tanks. Flies develop in moist soils or mine leaves of aquatic, subaquatic, and rarely dry soil (Hydrellia) plants. Flies are found near water along coasts, among aquatic vegetation and sometimes on water surfaces (Ephydra).

Species lists[edit]






 Diastatidae sensu lato






McAlpine (1989)[2]Grimaldi (1990)[3]


  1. ^ Louis S. Hesler 1995 Bibliography on Hydrellia griseola Fallen (Diptera: Ephydridae) and review of its biology and pest status DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  2. ^ McAlpine, J.F. 1989. Chapter 116. Phylogeny and classification of the Muscomorpha. In Manual of Nearctic Diptera. Vol. 3. Coordinated by J.F. McAlpine and D.M. Wood. Agriculture Canada Monograph, 32. pp. 1397–1518.
  3. ^ David Grimald, 1990 A phylogenetic, revised classification of genera in the Drosophilidae (Diptera) Bulletin of American Museum of Natural History 1971-139 [1]
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