What are Diptera?

Diptera are a large group of insects containing flies and mosquitos. Over 120,000 Diptera species have been described and probably as many are still undescribed.

Diptera have only a single pair of wings, distinguishing this group from most other insects. Although a few highly specialised, often parasitic, forms are wingless.

Diptera have:

  • a single pair of wings
  • a holometabolous life cycle
  • legless larvae
  • larval heads are absent or much reduced

Diptera are categorised into the following groups:

Haematopota pluvialis, horse fly
Diptera research

Learn more about current research at the Museum on forensic entomology, mosquitoes and non-biting midges.

About the name

Diptera means 'two wings', the group are named after their distinguishing feature, a single pair of wings.

Brachycera Orthorrhapha specimens
Diptera collections

Discover more about the Museum's large collection of Diptera.