ID for true flies (Diptera)

There are a lot of tools for fly ID, but few that can be used by non-experts in the field. @aispinsects , @upupa-epops , and I have collected diagnoses, with global family coverage but focusing on North America for genera and species, at .

I’m posting this here because I’ve been told that interested people may not find this elsewhere. I hope this helps!


Thanks, that is really a nice project. I bookmarked it for future reference.

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Really amazing. I just applied it to ID to family level one of my observations and to understand why another observation was on Bibionidae family.

Also, I knew that taking pictures of the wing (for the venation pattern) were important for ID’ing but I didn’t know to which extend! For the photographer point of view, we usually focus in the eyes, which is usually the most attractive and mesmerizing feature of flies, but i’ll try going for the wings first now.

Thanks so much for this Even, Arturo and all involved.


Thanks! This looks useful to me too!

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This is super cool! I would love to see this ID guide expand beyond US region.


If you go into the link provided above, there’s a “Diptera - Introduction and outline” that helps you to narrow it down to different sub-groups, which can be used worldwide! But a more comprehensive one outside of the US would sure be nice! :)


Very useful! Just helped me learn that the Lucilia sericata I saw was female.

A similar resource that’s been helpful to me is the “Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification”, which offers a set of digital dichotomous keys for a few genera of flies in Canada. (Just realized that you cite this!) Though I really appreciate your flyguide, since it’s a but easier as a non-expert scrolling through a set of slides, especially with the direct labels here. With the dichotomous key, I really got stuck on one set of observations where I was using it because I was looking at the wrong part until you came along on this Hybomitra osburni observation


I’ve started drafts for western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East which are posted on the “Diptera - notes” page. I’d love to expand beyond US/Canada but I think it’s better to do one thing well than 5 things less thoroughly. Unless someone else is willing to volunteer their time, I’m going to save those expansions until I run out of things to do for North America.


Excellent work @edanko- I’m always in awe and inspired!

Just the thing to try. I always appreciate your ids. Thanks for thinking of the community.

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Yes, wonderful resource, thanks!

Besides for the information, I had a very enjoyable read too!

I love the guide you made. It made it so much easier for Lucilia sericata.

@edanko, wonderful work done !
Perhaps a good way to spread the word and make people using the web page is, when you set an identification where people set a wrong family, set the link to the family in your tool. In that way people will remember it, or remember where they keep the link.