Diptera is one of the four megadiverse insect orders. Some of its members are of enormous importance to humans because of the diseases they vector (e.g., mosquitoes and malaria) and the crops they destroy (e.g., fruit flies and almost any edible fruit). However, these pests account for only a small fraction of the 160,000+ named species of flies and uncounted others yet to be described.
These other species play important roles in the ecology of life on planet Earth, as pollinators, predators, parasites, prey, and decomposers. Wonderful accounts of flies can be found in books such as The Natural History of Flies (Oldroyd 1964), Flies – The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera (Marshall 2012), and The Secret Life of Flies (McAlister 2017).
There are over 900,000 specimens of Diptera at the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, FSCA) thus forming one of the major North American fly collections. Pinned specimens are housed in approximately 2,600 drawers, at least 135,000 specimens (mostly Ceratopogonidae) are mounted on microscope slides, and many thousands as of yet incompletely inventoried specimens are in alcohol and other bulk forms. The entire pinned Diptera collection has been inventoried for species names and Florida records. This information is updated regularly to reflect current nomenclature and holdings at FSCA.