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World’s largest flies

Flies can be an absolute annoyance, the buzzing sound the make can be infuriating. They can also be dangerous, carrying a whole host of diseases. But they’re not the only fly. The insects known as flies belong to a group of insects called Diptera which contain over 110, 000 species. The huge diversity of this group means some flies have evolved to become truly amazing. Two fly groups have grown much larger than standard flies and are in contention for being the largest fly in the world.

Mydas flies, or Mydidae, are found all over the world but are more commonly found in hot places with shrub vegetation. There are around 400 species, of which the largest is Gauromydas Hero’s – this fly has been reported to have grown up to 7cm in length. This is close to the upper size limit for flies, at least with Earth’s climate and atmospheric makeup the way it is. According to a 2005 study, ambient temperature sets a limit on the metabolic rate a fly can achieve, and thus on how big it can afford to grow. Science doesn’t know too much about Mydas Flies’ lifesytles. Adult can be observed feeding from flowers, maybe drinking their nectar. However, the larvae seem to be predators and have been known to feed on ant larvae.

Timber Flies, or Pantophthalmidae, live in Central and South America – from Mexico to Praguay. Their name comes from the way their larvae live – in trees. Female timber flies lay their eggs on dying trees, and the larvae drill their way inside. They have evolved massive mandibles which allows them to do this – if many are in one tree than can be heard from several meters away. McAlister, a researcher, said “The largest ones we’ve got are around 8cm head to abdomen”.  However, they can have a wingspan of 8.5cm – this is quite larger than the Mydas Fly.