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

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Sphaerocerids are common flies in a large range of habitats. Many species are associated with mammal faeces and animal remains, in which the larvae live. Thoracochaeta species live on and in stranded kelp (mainly brown algae) on ocean beaches. Other species live in forest leaf litter and some have reduced wings.


The main diagnostic features of these small to minute flies include:

Vibrissa large; interfrontal bristles usually in two regular series; arista inserted well beyond base of first flagellomere; prosternum usually very narrow; hind basitarsus much thicker and usually shorter than fore basitarsus; wing with vein Sc very incomplete (whole wing vestigial in some species).

This family contains wingless species.


Sphaeorcerids are cosmopolitan, with a vast number of undescribed world species, although those already named exceed 1300. Subfamilies represented in Australia are: 1, Copromyzinae, with cell cup enclosed and two pairs of long scutellar bristles; 2, Sphaerocerinae, with cell cup enclosed and numerous very short scutellar bristles; 3, Limosininae, with cell cup open (or wing vestigial) and usually some long scutellar bristles. The Limosininae include most of the Australian genera and the 70 Australian species.

  • Spaeroceridae riding a weevil

  • Sphareoceridae