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

Sciomyzidae Sciomyzinae

Major Group: Insecta
Subfamily: Sciomyzinae
Genus: Dichetophora
Aquatic species in Australia belong to a single genus, Dichetophora.

Descriptive Features:

  • head capsule incomplete, without externally visible sclerotization, reduced in size and structure, often retractile into thorax
  • cephalic structure a "cephalopharyngeal" skeleton 
  • mandibles usually with hooked apical tooth and lacking inner teeth
  • mouth-hooks united by ventral arch
  • thoracic segments longer and narrower than abdominal segments
  • abdomen 8-segmented
  • posterior spiracles at apices of separate diverging branches arising from common base, never spine-like
  • Total length: up to 5mm


      Taxonomic Checklist: Species
      australis Walker
      Dichetophora biroi Kertesz
      Dichetophora boyesi Steyskal
      Dichetophora conjuncta Malloch
      Dichetophora hendeli Kertesz
      Dichetophora punctipennis Malloch

      Distribution: Australia wide

      Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 2

      Functional Feeding Group: predators, parasites


      Billabong Creek on OldCoree nr Jerilderie, NSW

      Ecology: Instream habitat: Free-living larvae and floating pupae of Dichetophora are common in ponds, dams and creeks with little flow, especially where there are populations of snails.
      Feeding ecology:Larvae are predators and parasites of snails.
      Habit: Free living Dichetophora larvae are burrowers. They can inflate their bodies and sometimes use this technique to drag snails from the pond bottom to the water’s surface.
      Life history: Sciomyzidae are commonly known as ‘snail-killers’ as the females lay their eggs in snails and upon hatching the early instar larvae parasitize the snail. Later instars are free-living.


      Information Sources: Colless & McAlpine 1991, Hawking & Smith 1997, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002, Evenhuis 2008, Keiper et al. 2002
      Key to Species: none