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

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A small but widespread family with about 400 described species of rather small, dark flies. Just over 80 species in six genera are known from Australia; four genera are endemic. The largest genera here are Riekiella and Scenopinus ; the former endemic and the latter cosmopolitan. The bulk of our fauna has been described since 1969; many species are known from single specimens, and much of the fauna remains to be discovered. Yeates (1992) divided the family into three subfamilies; only the Scenopininae is present in Australia. This superfamily are commonly called Window flies.

Adults are uncommon; most of those of the rarer genera have been swept from vegetation or close to the ground, but some Scenopinus spp. are commonly collected on window-panes. Many adults have been collected in Malaise traps set for Therevidae. Larvae occur in rotting vegetation, etc, and have been found in birds' nests; in Scenopinus at least, they are probably predacious. S. fenestralis is said to breed in houses, preying on larvae of moths, carpet beetles, etc, which explains why this European species has now spread to many countries of the world (Paramonov 1955; Kelsey 1970, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1987).


Adults are similar in appearance to, but smaller than, Therevidae, and the two families are closely related. Scenopinidae have rather characteristic wing venation which is more reduced than that found in Therevidae. The larvae have a secondarily segmented abdomen, like Therevidae.

  • Scenopinus sp.

  • Scenopinidae