The Diptera, true flies or two-winged flies, comprise more than 160,000 species worldwide and they are one of the largest orders on Earth. Flies are found on every continent, with higher species diversity in tropical regions and a few species found in Antarctica. Flies are known for transmitting diseases to humans and their livestock, damaging crop yields and consequently reduce the ability to produce and export products. On the positive side, flies are important in pollination of plants, decomposition of plant and animal material, biological control, forensic entomology, and food web for larger invertebrates, fish, and birds. With the paucity of experts working on taxonomy and systematic and many species of Diptera remain to be described, the Florida State Collection of Arthropods with worldwide holdings is one of the collections available for researchers and students to pursue systematic research.
The collection of Diptera at the FSCA is one of the major North American fly collections, consisting of some 900,000 specimens, approximately 588,000 pinned specimens housed in about 2,600 drawers, more than 135,000 slide-mounted specimens (mostly Ceratopogonidae), 185 primary types, and some 26,000 glass vials with alcohol contain the preserved larvae, pupae, and adults of some 85 families. The collection of Chironomidae is housed and curated at the Entomology collection, Florida A&M University (FAMU), Tallahassee. The species-level inventory for some 292,000 pinned specimens has more than 13,138 species representing 2,168 genera in our holdings. Its representation is worldwide although the species diversity of the Americas is the strongest due to numerous research expeditions in the 20th century and through contributions from former staff of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The major contributions to the Diptera have been made by past and present staff (Weems, Steck, Rodriguez) and by multiple donations of collaborators and research associates. The major contributors include C. H. Martin (Asilidae), G.B. Fairchild, J.T. Goodwin, R.H. Roberts, M.A. Tidwell, R.C. Wilkerson, and E. Coher (Tabanidae), H.R. Dodge and G. Dahlem (Sarcophagidae), H.R. Dodge and F.M. Snyder (Muscidae), D. E. Hardy (Drosophilidae), H. V. Weems (Syrphidae), G. J. Steck and E. J. Rodriguez (Tephritidae – larvae and adults), W.W. Wirth and F.S. Blanton (Ceratopogonidae), D.G. Young and G.B. Fairchild (Psychodidae), E. Coher and J. Reinert (Culicidae).