overlay image

Manitoba Museum

Flies (Diptera)

Minute Black Scavenger Flies


Little is known about the biology of this family. Adults are sometimes found on flowers and are common in the summer. Larvae generally feed on decaying organic matter such as detritus or feces, and may develop large populations in backyard compost.

Representative Genera and Species:


Pollinator Life Cycle:

They have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The immature stages of very few species are known. Females lay their eggs in clusters of about 200.

Rarity Status:

The status of Canadian species has not yet been assessed, and none are legally protected.

Physical Appearance:

These very small (0.6 – 5 mm long), but robust flies have rounded heads and an abdomen with a narrowed base. Colouration is shiny or dull dark grey, brown, or black, sometimes with yellow. Wings have reduced venation, and those along the wing margins are much darker than the rest. They have short antennae with 5-10 segments.

Pollinator Habitat:

Many species are common on decaying plant and animal matter, including manure. Adults are sometimes found on flowers or large sand dunes. Larvae are often in decaying bark, bulbs and onions, or wastes from fruit canneries and wineries.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland/Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie
Minute Black Scavenger Flies