What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Thaumaleidae are a species-poor group of small, stocky, yellow to brown flies, encountered near flowing waters.

Adult Thaumaleidae are seen infrequently, usually close to the hygropetric aquatic larval habitat. The undersides of bridges over smaller running waters are amongst the commoner adult aggregation sites. Little or no life history information is available on Australian species: the most recent taxonomic revision (Theischinger 1986) is based on the adult stage alone.

Thaumaleid larvae are predominantly hygropetric, found in vertical, thin water films alongside waterfalls and torrents. They are intolerant of elevated temperatures and occur most frequently in fully shaded localities. They feed by grazing on diatoms.


Adults are recognised by the few (7) veins reaching the margin, the costa running around the entire margin, the absence of ocelli, and, particularly, the short antenna which is no longer than the head.

Larval Thaumaleidae resemble larval Lutzomyia (Psychodidae), Forcipomyia (Ceratopogonidae), and several Chironomidae. The unpaired prolegs, ventrally directed, truncate head, and prothoracic spiracles on a short respiratory tube allow recognition.


About 80 species are known in five genera, predominantly from temperate areas of both hemispheres. Australian genera all are austral (Gondwanan), with endemic species.

  • Thaumaleidae

  • Thaumaleidae