Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Family SCENOPINIDAE Burmeister, 1835

Window Flies

Compiler and date details

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


Scenopinidae is a family of flies known from some 400 species worldwide. The family is well represented in Australia with 86 species currently described. Of the six genera represented in the Australian fauna, four genera (Neopseudatrichia, Paramonova, Paratrichia and Riekiella) are endemic. Scenopinid specimens are often encountered at windows of buildings, thus giving rise to their common name 'Window Flies'. In more natural habitat, specimens are often taken when sweep-netting flowers. Despite having a relatively rich fauna, the family is somewhat poorly represented in institutional collections. This may be because specimens are overlooked in the field, due to the small size of the insects. Most species are known only from their type-locality, suggesting under-collecting and/or localized endemicity.

Paramonov (1955) wrote the first review of the Australian Scenopinidae. Subsequently, Kelsey published extensively on the group, describing many of the currently known Australian species (1969, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1987). More recently, several new Australian species have been described (Winterton 2008; Winterton & Woodley 2009).

Several cosmopolitan species occur within the Australian limits — Scenopinus fenestralis, Scenopinus glabifrons, Scenopinus lucidus and Scenopinus papuanus.

Knowledge of the biology of the family Scenopinidae in Australia is poor. Paramonov (1955) reported the larvae to be carnivorous, possibly feeding on larvae of moths and psocids in homes, which would explain their regular occurence at window sills. Larvae may also feed on tree fungi. In Europe, the larvae of the cosmopolitan Scenopinus fenestralis have been associated with trees, decaying wood, horse hair in a mattress, bird's nests and in carpet.


General References

Kelsey, L.P. 1969. A revision of the Scenopinidae (Diptera) of the world. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 277: 1-336 [Date published 31 December]

Kelsey, L.P. 1970. The Scenopinidae (Diptera) of Australia; including the descriptions of one new genus and six new species. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 9: 103-148 [Date published 31 August]

Kelsey, L.P. 1971. Eighteen new species of Australian Scenopinidae (Diptera). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 10: 183-204 [Date published 30 September]

Kelsey, L.P. 1975. New Australian Scenopinidae (Diptera). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 14: 197-212 [Date published 29 September]

Kelsey, L.P. 1980. New Australian Scenopinidae (Diptera) III. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 19: 7-10 [Date published 28 May]

Kelsey, L.P. 1987. New Australian Scenopinidae (Diptera) IV. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 26: 1-32 [Date published 24 February]

Kelsey, L.P. 1996. Family Scenopinidae. In Evenhuis, N.L.(ed.) Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions. online version last updated 5 October 1996.

Winterton, S.L. 2008. An unusual new species of Scenopinus Latreille (Diptera: Scenopinidae) from Australia. Zootaxa 1895: 66-68

Winterton, S.L. & Ware, J.L. 2015. Phylogeny, divergence times and biogeography of window flies (Scenopinidae) and the therevoid clade (Diptera: Asiloidea). Systematic Entomology 40: 491–519 [Date published online 6 Jan. 2015]

Winterton, S.L. & Woodley, N.E. 2009. New species of Metatrichia Coquillett (Diptera: Scenopinidae) from Australia and Venezuela. Zootaxa 2094: 42-51


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)
01-Feb-2019 DIPTERA Linnaeus, 1758 19-Dec-2018 MODIFIED
01-Nov-2011 23-Jun-2015 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)