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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Diptera (true flies) | Psychodidae


Major Group: Insecta

Descriptive Features:

  • each thoracic and abdominal segment subdivided with many subdivisions dorsally bearing sclerotized areas
  • last body segments with respiratory tube
  • 3 thoracic segments distinctly separated
  • thorax not broader than abdominal segments
  • prolegs not present on any segment
  • head capsule complete not retractile into thorax
  • mandibles usually with several teeth
  • abdomen 9-segmented
  • Total length: up to 15mm


      Taxonomic Checklist: Subfamilies Genera
          Nemapalpus australiensis Alexander
          Brunettia 4 species
          Clogmia 2 species
          Didicrum 2 species
          Epacretron pulchrum
          Notiocharis 3 species
          Paratelmatoscopus 5 species
          Peripsychoda 7 species
          Psychoda 21 species
          Rotundopteryx 15 species (formerly Pericoma
          Telmatoscopus 10 species
          Threticus 3 species
          Trichopsychoda montana Satchell
          Sycorax australis Duckhouse
          Trichomyia 19 species

      Distribution: Australia wide

      Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 3

      Functional Feeding Group: gathering collectors


      Billabong Creek near Conargo, NSW

      Ecology: Instream habitat: Commonly known as ‘moth-flies’, the larvae of Psychodidae are usually found at the edge of standing or sluggish freshwater habitats, in rotting wood, sand or mud although some larvae are found in hygropetric zones. Psychoda, the most common genus, survives well in ephemeral pools and some Psychodidae species are tolerant of eutrophication and low oxygen levels.
      Feeding ecology: Psychodid larvae are gathering collectors feeding on decomposing organic matter. Adults do not feed.
      Life history: Parthenogenesis is present in some species. Most adults live for only one or two days and are most abundant in early summer, but Psychoda is also common during winter.


      Information Sources: Colless & McAlpine 1991, Williams 1980, Hawking & Smith 1997, Cranston 1995, Duckhouse 1966, Bugledich 1999, Evenhius 2007
      Key to Subfamilies: none
      Key to Genera: none
      Key to Species: none