Tiger Flies (Fig. 1), scientifically called Coenosia are small inconspicuous grey flies. They belong to a family of flies called the Muscidae, generally referred to as “Houseflies” but they are not your stereotypical pesky housefly (Fig. 2) and are not likely to come into your house to irritate you like their cousins. You see, these little flies are actually fierce predators and typically hunt all kinds of insects.
Every year, thousands of insects visit our gardens. While some are purely pests (such as plant lice), and others are pollinators (such as honey bees); there is a group of insects that skirt the knife’s edge between being both pests and pollinators, with the added bonus of being pretty too: Butterflies (and sometimes moths).
The age- old joke of “What do you call a fly without wings? A walk!” is to most just a typical dad-joke. But what many people don’t realise is that flies (Insect order Diptera) have quite a few species that are indeed “walks”.
True flies, scientifically known as Diptera (Greek for two-winged), are a group of insects that are typically associated, in the public mind, with filth and disease. This is because most people only interact with them in their kitchens or in agricultural or medical settings as pests or as carriers of disease. And while these generalisations have some truth to them, the vast majority of flies are not detrimental to human health or food production, but rather form an integral part of numerous ecosystems worldwide (Triplehorn & Johnson 2005).
While most people do their utmost to avoid flies, we as entomologists, and particularly specialists called dipterists, actively seek them out as part of our jobs. As fly taxonomists, it is our passion to collect, classify, and if we find new species, describe them.