• Metamorphosis: complete (egg to larva to pupa to adult).
  • Immature: variable, mosquito larvae are legless with a recognizable head. Maggots (vermiform larvae) do not have a recognizable head.
  • Adult: sucking or sponging mouthparts, two wings (hind wings modified into knobbed structures, called halteres.


The flies occupy numerous habitats, including vegetation, aquatic, and parasites. The mosquitoes are important vectors of disease.

Classification and Groups

107 families and 18,000 species in North America.
>100,000 species worldwide.

Medically Important Families:

  • Culicidae: the mosquitoes. About 3,000 species worldwide, 150 species in North America.
  • Muscidae: the muscid flies, contains the house fly and tsetse fly.
  • Simuliidae: the black flies. About 1,000 species worldwide.
  • Psychodidae: the moth and sand flies.
  • Ceratopogonidae: the biting midges.
  • Tabanidae: the horse and deer flies. About 3,000 species worldwide.

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