Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University
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Small Flies
Small flies, fungus gnats, leafminer fly, shore fly, fruit fly.  Photo by Drees.
Click on image to enlarge
Small flies, (Diptera);
Top: fungus gnats,
Middle left: leafminer fly,
Middle right: shore fly,
Bottom: fruit fly,
Photo by Drees.
Common Name: Small flies
Scientific Name: Varies
Order: Diptera

Description: Adult flies are small, yellowish, tan to dark brown 1/8 inch long flies, normally with red eyes. The antennae are characteristic in having a feathery bristle.

Life Cycle: Adults lay cylindrical eggs near suitable larval habitat. Tiny maggots hatch from eggs and develop though several molts before leaving the food source in search of a drier location to pupate. Pupae are brown and seed-like with two horn-like stalks on the front end. Development from egg to adult can be completed in 8 to 10 days.

Habitat and Food Source(s): Mouthparts are for lapping in adults, while maggots have chewing or "teasing" mouthparts. Immature stages feed on over ripe, fermenting or rotting fruit and vegetables, whole or in part (peels), fermenting liquids (vinegar, beer, wine, cider) and other rotting organic material in garbage and other unsanitary areas. Adults can be attracted to fruit or fermenting liquid especially if placed outdoors in a compost pile or near garbage. They can be allowed to breed on the food source. D. melanogaster is also available through scientific supply catalogs.

Pest Status: Adult flies can be a nuisance in restaurants, wine cellars and near fruit and vegetable fields and food processing areas, anywhere where abundant breeding habitat is available; otherwise medically harmless. Fruit flies, particularly Drosophila melanogaster Meigen sometimes called the "banana fly," have been used extensively as laboratory animals for experiments in genetics, insect behavior and physiology.

For additional information, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent or search for other state Extension offices.

Literature: Ebeling 1978; Metcalf et al. 1962.

From the book:
Field Guide to Texas Insects,
Drees, B.M. and John Jackman,
Copyright 1999
Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas

A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman.


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