How to Identify Flies

Diptera, or flies, are a mega-diverse group and include more than 160,000 identified species. Because they are so small, many remain undiscovered–scientists estimate that there are over 1,000,000 species worldwide!


Use our family- and school-friendly guide to identify the most common fly families.


Read through this introduction to flies before you begin.


What Makes a Fly Different From Other Insects?

All true flies have only one pair of wings.The second pair are reduced into little knobs called “halteres” which send messages to the fly about its flight position.



General Fly Anatomy




Ready to identify flies? START HERE