Immature stages mostly aquatic or associated with aquatic habitats.
Small to moderate-sized flies, length 1-11 mm, usually dull and dark coloured, but unusually diverse in body structure, vestiture, and ornamentation, making this family difficult to characterize; female usually larger than male. Pseudopostocellar setae divergent or lacking. Arista bare, pubescent, or pectinate; aristal rays on dorsum only, except in Asmeringa Becker and in some Ptilomyia Coquillett. Wing with humeral and subcostal breaks; Sc vein rudimentary; vein R1 merging with C before middle of wing; cells bm and dm not separated by a crossvein; Cell cup absent. Anepisternum setulose. Preapical dorsal seta lacking on fore and hind tibiae. (Wirth et al 1987, Mathis & Zatwarnicki 1998)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:3482
Specimens with Barcodes:3347
Species With Barcodes:209
The petroleum fly, Helaeomyia petrolei, is the only known insect whose larvae live in naturally occurring crude petroleum. Another notable species is Ephydra hians which lives in vast number at Mono Lake.
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.
In the tribe Notiphilini the head is reduced to a cephalic skeleton, there are no anterior spiracles and the posterior spiracles are extended as spines. The other taxa 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.
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).
|McAlpine (1989)||Grimaldi (1990)|
- Zatwarnicki T, Kahanpää J (2014) Checklist of the family Ephydridae of Finland (Insecta, Diptera). In: Kahanpää J, Salmela J (Eds) Checklist of the Diptera of Finland. ZooKeys 441: 339–346. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.441.7448
- Louis S. Hesler 1995 Bibliography on Hydrellia griseola Fallen (Diptera: Ephydridae) and review of its biology and pest status DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln
- 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.
- David Grimald, 1990 A phylogenetic, revised classification of genera in the Drosophilidae (Diptera) Bulletin of American Museum of Natural History 1971-139 
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