Please help me find a Diptera manual for southern Africa

As per the title, please can the good folks here help me find a good manual for reviewing taxa down to species level in this Order? I was sure I found a superb one on SANBI’s site (below) a month or so ago, or one for other orders like Coleoptera, but I didn’t save or bookmark it and now I have to start from fresh

I should clarify that it needs to be a manual for Diptera of South (or Southern) Africa

Please help folks :pray: :v: :relaxed:

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There should be one to find in this link here, somewhere:

I just can’t remember where

For identifying the families of Diptera, our guides on Field/Photo ID for Flies will be perfect. However, we don’t have other resources for South Africa… you’re best bet might be the Manual of Afrotropical Diptera or Scholtz & Holm 1985.


This book runs to family level:
Oosterbroek, P. 2006: The European Families of the Diptera. Identification, diagnosis, biology.

This other two to genus, and are fre download:
Manual of Nearctic diptera:
Vol 1:
Vol 2:

I have no reference manual for Africa …


Thank you zdanko, the Manual for Afro-tropical Diptera actually rings a bell, might be the one I first found. Do you have the link for it?

Thanks Rafael

If it doesn’t cover southern African species then there’s not much I can get from it. I need a manual to ID all the flies I’ve photographed in South Africa, of which there are many!

I got my copy of the Manual of Afrotropical Diptera from here (though SANBI was the publisher):

Note there are several volumes depending on which families you’re after, and it can get a little pricey.

Also note that while this is the gold standard, it might not actually be what you want, which probably doesn’t exist. Books like these won’t necessarily enable you to ID all the flies you’ve photographed-- the keys are based around having a specimen under a microscope and not all characters will be visible in photographs. Plus it only has keys to families and then genus, for species you usually have to consult the most recent taxonomic treatment for that genus (which are listed in the manual). If you don’t know flies at all, I’d recommend you first just play with the Dankowicz family online field guides to get a feeling for the general groups. The families are going to be mostly the same across continents.


Its all free online…


Once you get past your basic wildflower or bird guide, almost nothing useable exists.

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This was exactly what I needed - got all 3 volumes now, thank you! :smile:

I agree with those saying that ‘guides’ like these should be used with caution, and I’ll only be using it to give Genus level ID’s where I can, after consulting with other users savy with the taxa

Something I hope happens in future is that these manuals can be translated for easier interpretation by the layman, as they give glimpses into tracing broad arrays of taxa with very unique tools and distinguishing features

I’m glad we could help!

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Any time wing venation comes into it, there is no way around knowing the names of the different wing veins. This is one of those cases where the “layman’s” level of interest is measured by willingness to learn the terminology.

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