RESOURCES: Flies in the Web

Science  19 Nov 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5700, pp. 1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5700.1269c

Minute midges, nettlesome gnats, blood-hungry mosquitoes, gangly craneflies. These examples illustrate just a tiny fraction of fly diversity. The Diptera Site, hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a good launching point for fly mavens and neophytes alike looking for information on the more than 120,000 species of these insects. Pages here and on linked sites describe morphology, habits, and other details of 16 fly families, such as phorids, some of which burrow into and feast on ants' heads. Specialists can find possible collaborators in the site's directory or fire up the Nomenclator, a database of valid scientific names.

To brush up on your fly anatomy, buzz over to this linked atlas being developed by Australian fly experts. Clicking on a list of characteristics highlights them on four representative flies. For close-ups, slide the virtual magnifying glass across the screen.

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