Lonchaeidae Study Group

  • Lonchaea palposa specimen (photo by J Richardson)
    Lonchaea palposa specimen (photo by J Richardson)

    Taxonomic Group (English): Lance flies

  • Taxonomic Group (Scientific): Diptera: Lonchaeidae

  • Scheme Organiser: Nigel Jones

Records for the scheme can be added to iRecord, or contact the scheme organiser direct to send spreadsheet records.

Flies in the family Lonchaeidae ("lance-flies") can be rather challenging to identify. Key characters for determining species are the arrangement of bristles (chaetotaxy) and hairs over the head and thorax. As all the British species of Lonchaeidae are small, dark bodied, rather shiny flies, it can be quite difficult to make out these features, and this has acted as a barrier to many Dipterists taking up the study of Lonchaeidae. The study group aims to help Dipterists improve their ability to determine Lonchaeidae. In many instances this will be facilitated by the study group receiving specimens from collectors and identifying these, so that reliably named specimens can be sent back as reference specimens. Other characters, important for separating species are female ovipositor tips - often visible without the need for dissection, and male genitalia - requiring dissection.

The study group is also keen to receive specimens from workers who require identifications, but who may not be looking to develop their own identification skills for this family.


The key work for identifying the British species is: Iain MacGowan & Graham Rotheray. 2008. British Lonchaeidae: Diptera. Cyclorrhapha, Acalyptratae (Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects). Royal entomological Society. 

Updates to the RES Handbook


  • Figure 211 - the tip of the ovipositor of Protearomyia nigra is incorrect. A drawing of the ovipositor can be downloaded here
  • Figure 212 - the tip of the ovipositor of Silba fumosa is incorrect. A drawing of the ovipositor can be downloaded here
  • Figures 197-199 - these are actually Earomyia argentea, which at the time of publication was not recognised. Drawings of the true Earomyia virilis epandrial complex can be downloaded here

Name changes

  • Genus Setisqaumalonchaea is now regarded as a junior synonym of Silba. Thus the single British species S. fumosa is now Silba fumosa.
    Reference: MACGOWAN, I. & OKAMOTO, T. 2013. New species of Lonchaeidae (Diptera: Schizophora) from Japan and a re-evaluation of genus Setisquamalonchaea Morge. Entomological Science 19: 196-202

New additions to the British checklist of Lonchaeidae

  • Protearomyia withersi
    Reference: MACGOWAN, I. 2015: Protearomyia withersi MacGowan (Diptera, Lonchaeidae) new to the British Isles. Dipterists Digest (22: 1) 17 – 20.
    Description:  MACGOWAN, I. 2014: Three new species of Protearomyia McAlpine, 1962 (Diptera: Lonchaeidae) with a key to males of the Palearctic species. Zootaxa (3796: 2) 337–348.
  • Lonchaea carpathica
    Reference and description: GODFREY, A. 2017 Lonchaea carpathica Kovalev (Diptera, Lonchaeidae) new to Britain and other Diptera from Cherkley Wood, Leatherhead, Surrey. Dipterists Digest (24: 2) 153-155.
  • Lonchaea deutschi
    Reference and description: MACGOWAN, I. 2020. Loncha
    ea deutschi Zetterstedt (Diptera, Lonchaeidae) new to the British Isles. Dipterists Digest (27: 2) 217 – 219. Available online here
  • Protearomyia jonesi
    Reference and description: MACGOWAN, I. & REMAINN, A. 2021. A new species of Protearomyia (Diptera, Lonchaeidae) with a review of the genus in the Palearctic. Zootaxa 4966: 4. 487 - 493.
    Figures illustrating the male genitalia, critical for determing P. jonesi, can be downloaded here


  •  L. laxa Collin, 1953 is now regarded as a junior synonym of  L. affinis Malloch, 1920.
    Reference: MACGOWAN, I. 2019. Earomyia argenta sp. nov. (Diptera: Lonchaeidae) from Sweden with a revised checklist and province catalogue. Entomologisk Tidscrift 140 (3-4), 167 - 174.

Lonchaeidae Online features:

  • accounts for all the British species. Many of the accounts include images of key characters - an aid for determining specimens;
  • A test key to European Lonchaea males and some females.