Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps


Upside-Down Flies

Compiler and date details

July 2011 - Scott Ginn, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

2007 - R. Johnson, data taken from Evenhuis, N.L. Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions (online version, accessed 2007-08)


Neurochaetidae are a small family of flies currently known from some 20 species worldwide. McAlpine established the family in 1978 and has subsequently described many of the known fauna (see McAlpine 1988, 1993). Currently, three species in two genera are described from Australia. A fourth undescribed species is known from the Northern Territory (McAlpine, pers. comm.).

Flies in this family display a curious behaviour, whereby individuals will maintain an inverted (head-down) orientation when landed on any vertical plane. They retain this orientation when walking, and so will walk sideways left or right and walk in reverse if ascending. The biology and life history of Neurochaeta inversa and its association with the host plant Alocasia brisbanensis (F.M. Bailey) Domin is well documented (McAlpine 1878; Shaw et al. 1982).

McAlpine (1993) includes a key to known genera; McAlpine (1988) and Woodley (1982) give keys to species for Neurochaeta.


General References

McAlpine, D.K. 1978. Description and biology of a new genus of flies related to Anthoclusia and representing a new family (Diptera, Schizophora, Neurochaetidae). Annals of the Natal Museum 23(2): 273-295 [Date published October]

McAlpine, D.K. 1988. Studies in upside-down flies (Diptera: Neurochaetidae). Part I. Systematics and phylogeny. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 110(1): 31-58 [Date published September]

McAlpine, D.K. 1993. Review of the upside-down Flies (Diptera: Neurochaetidae) of Madagascar and Africa, and evolution of Neurochaetid host plant associations. Records of the Australian Museum 45(2): 221-239 [Date published 30 July]

Shaw, D.E., Cantrell, B.K. & Houston, K.J. 1982. Neurochaeta inversa McAlpine (Diptera: Neurochaetidae) and seed set in Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) G. Don (Araceae) in southeast Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 106(1): 67-82 [Date published 27 October]

Woodley, N.E. 1982. Two new species of Neurochaeta McAlpine (Diptera: Neurochaetidae), with notes on cladistic relationships within the genus. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Washington 10: 211-218 [Date published 30 September]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
17-Aug-2011 17-Aug-2011 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)