When alive, these flies are remarkable for their consistent orientation, with the head directed downwards while on a vertical surface. As compensation, they can run in any direction without turning the body.
McAlpine usually lives in all stages of the cunjevoi plant,
(Araceae), but may transfer to the introduced
(B. Day, pers. comm.). Adults of
McAlpine live, at least by day, deep in the crowns of
(Xanthorrhoeaceae) in Western Australia.
These small, more or less flattened flies have the following diagnostic features:
Pedicel of antenna dorsally slit; prosternum much reduced; fore coxa with basal membranous foramen much more than half as long as coxa; hind femur enlarged; fore femur short and stout, mid femur short and relatively slender. Peculiarities of Australian neurochaetid genera are the three erect bristles on wing vein Rs of
and the vestigial claws of
Neurochaetids live in Africa, Madagascar, Tropical Asia, and New Guinea as well as four species in eastern and south-western Australia. The tertiary fossil genus
is preserved in Baltic Amber (Northern Europe).