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About true flies

Flesh-fly, Sarcophaga carnaria

True flies include crane-flies, mosquitoes, midges, horse-flies, hover-flies, blow-flies and house-flies.

Unlike the majority of insects flies do not possess the usual two pairs of wings but have only a single, membranous pair.

Some families of flies, such as hover-flies, are brightly coloured and conspicuous. These are often seen feeding on flowers.

Adult flies feed on liquids including fluids from decaying animals, plants and animal dung, nectar and the blood of birds and mammals. A handful of species associated with humans and farming practices are able to spread bacterial diseases. Many others are a nuisance in high numbers, particularly the biting species of mosquitoes, midges and horse-flies.

The larvae of the majority of fly species play a vital role in the decomposition of dead animals and plants

Number of UK species: about 6,600

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