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

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The Scatopsidae are a cosmopolitan family of small, dark nematocerans, with some 60 species in Australia. Globally, there are some 350 species. A dozen or more species are known as fossils, dating from as early as the Upper Cretaceous.

Adults are encountered on flowers, and associated with decaying vegetative and animal materials of many kinds. The latter habitats are the preferred breeding site for some of the few species whose biologies are known, including two cosmopolitan species, Scatopse notata and Coboldia fuscipes . Morphospecies diversity of Scatopsidae (and Sciaridae) diminishes quite dramatically in response to repeated proscribed burning, and the family may be considered potentially indicative of such management impacts.


Adult Scatopsida have 1-segemnted palps and wing vein C ending far before wing apex, and usually with only C and R darkly pigmented and the remaining veins hyaline. The tibiae lack apical spurs.

Larval Scatopsidae are dorsoventrally flattened, with an exerted (non-retractile) head capsule, and peripneustic respiratory system with spiracles on protuberances in some taxa.


Scatopsidae are worldwide in distribution, excepting Antarctica. Australian scatopsid genera include cosmopolitan and endemic groups. Some of the latter appear to have austral connections.

  • Scatopsidae