Nematocera are the most primitive Diptera and include crane-flies, mosquitoes, sandflies and various types of midges.

The distinguishing features of Nematocera are:

  • longer and more segmented antennae, than other flies
  • larvae with a relatively well-developed head capsule

Many Nematocera are slender and long-legged, such as crane-flies and the various groups of midges.

Blood-sucking adult females

A few Nematocera groups have biting, blood-sucking adult females, and a small number of these transmit pathogenic micro-organisms to humans or farm animals when they bite.

These groups include:

  • mosquitoes
  • black-flies
  • sand-flies
  • midges

The females require blood meals as a source of protein for egg production. The males do not bite.

Larval stages

Gall midge in Baltic amber

Gall midge in Baltic amber

The Nematocera larval stage can occur in:

  • water
  • soil
  • fungi
  • plant galls

Gall midges larvae are either:

  • phytophagous
  • fungivorous  
  • predators of small invertebrates such as aphids or mites

Some of the phytophagous species are agricultural pests.


Feeding on fungi or mushrooms

Feeding on plants