Family Overview

An overview of the world fauna

 The family has two sub-families, Dasiopinae which contains the single genus Dasiops and the Lonchaeinae which contains seven genera. This taxonomic structure has been relatively stable for some time. Czerny (1934) raised the genus Chaetolonchaea and  McAlpine (1962) added the genus Protoearomyia .  Setisquamalonchaea was added by Morge in 1963 but is now regarded as a synonym of Silba (MacGowan & Tomoko 2013)


Dasiops Rondani, 1856

The subfamily Dasiopinae includes only this single genus, which is the second largest in the family, occurring in all zoogeographical regions, except Antarctica, with 128 described speciesThe second largest genus in the family, its named members are found most frequently in the Nearctic with about some 40 species identified to date, some 15 are known from the Palearctic with relatively few being recorded from Afirca, Asia and Australasia. 

The body colour invariably blue-black to black; the antennal arista is always bare; the postpedicel is usually barely longer than wide; the gena is
often with strong setae; the compound eye is bare or pilose; the basal tarsomeres are black or yellow; and the wing membrane
is hyaline. Unlike other genera, species identification is often based on the shape of the female aculeus, which is often blade-like as an adaptation for piercing plant stems.

Earomyia Zetterstedt, 1842
Thirteen species are known from the Palaearctic and eight from the Nearctic; it is not presently recorded from other geographical areas. The larvae apparently have a range of developments sites with one group specialising in fir cone seeds, others are in thistle heads of the stems of plants

Protearomyia McAlpine, 1962
This genus has at present relatively few known representatives with some four species recorded from the Nearctic and 5 known from Europe.

Fulgenta MacGowan (Lonchaeinae: Earomyiini). An Afrotropical genus of 15 described species, but it is estimated 
that up to 30 undescribed species may occur in the region.These are small, metallic green-blue flies, with a wing length of
2.5–3.1 mm; the antennal arista is pubescent to short plumose; the antennae are usually entirely black, but the postpedicel is
occasionally slightly orange-brown on the medial base, with a length to depth ratio ranging from 1.5–2.0:1; the legs are
black, with tarsomeres 1 and 2 pale and the apical tarsomeres darker; and the wing membrane is hyaline or occasionally with
apical brown shading. The genus is distributed from South Africa north to Ethiopia and from Nigeria in the west to Kenya
in the east. Based on the little information available, adults occur in habitats such as secondary woodland and lowland
evergreen primary forest at elevations of up to 1,200 m. An identification key to all known species was provided by
MacGowan (2017)

Lamprolonchaea Bezzi, 1920
This genus of brightly coloured metallic species has a mainly Oriental and Australasian distribution with two species known from Africa. There are at present 17 named species many of which have been described from islands of the Oceania region. One species L. smaragdi (Walker), has been found in the Mediterranean region and from northern Europe (Netherlands and Germany) where it occurs in association with imported fruit. It has recently been recorded from California, USA  again perhaps due to accidental imporation

Lonchaea Fallen

The largest genus  - most abundant in the forest zones of the Paleractic (c70 species) and Nearctic (c72 species). Also present in Neotropics, Australasia and the Afrotropics.

Silba Macquart, 1851

A genus of over 110 described species, occurring primarily in the Afrotropical, Australasian and Oriental Regions, with a 3 species known from
the Palaearctic and apparently one Neotropical. TAfrotropical species have the body colour invariably blue-black to black; the antennal arista almost always plumose, but bare in at least a few sub-montane Afrotropical species; the antennal postpedicel is ca 2.5–4 ×
longer than wide; the gena occasionally has strong setae; the compound eye is invariably bare; the tarsomeres are almost
always black (except in the S. admiralis McAlpine, 1956 species-group); and the wing membrane is hyaline, occasionally
slightly yellowish or rarely fumose. Silba larvae are often associted with fruits of several types and some species inhabit flower buds and even fungi

 More detailed species information

Chaetolonchaea Czerny, 1934
A  genus  known at present only from the Nearctic and Palaearctic. Three species have been recorded from  Europe. and  two from the Nearctic.  Life history largely unknown but there is s strong association with grassland habitats with one record of larvar having been found in a bulb.

Neosilba McAlpine
This genus represents a New World counterpart to the Old World genus Silba, which is similar in appearance and ecology. Known species are mainly recorded from the Caribbean, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil and two occur in the Nearctic. Some 15 species are known and at least a further 60 unnamed species await description (McAlpine and Steyskal 1982). The larvae infest a range of fruit and vegetables either as primary invaders or perhaps more commonly as secondary invaders after attack by other dipteran groups such as Tephritidae. Not recorded from the Palaearctic apart from accidentals imported with fruit.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith