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Thick-headed Fly - Sicus ferrugineus
Thick-headed Fly - Sicus ferrugineus

Thick-headed flies
The thick-headed flies (Conopidae) are in the order Diptera, the suborder Brachycera and the section Cyclorrhapha This family is divided into the subfamilies Conopinae, Myopinae and Dalmaniinae. Some examples of genera from these subfamilies are: Abrachyglossum, Conops, Dalmannia, Leopoldius, Melanosoma, Myopa, Physocephala, Sicus, Thecophora, Tropidomyia and Zodion.
Thick-headed fly - Conops flavipes
Thick-headed fly - Conops flavipes
Thick-headed flies are widespread throughout Europe, Northern Africa and Asia. In Europe more than 80 species are commonly found. The most frequently occurring species in Central Europe is Sicus ferrugineus, another is Conops quadrifasciatus.
Thick-headed flies reach body lengths of 3-18 mm. Their bodies are different in shape and colour. A common and conspicuous feature is the large, bloated-looking head. There is often a translucent bubble on the forehead. Their probosces are short and strong. The sensors (antennae) can be short or long with two or three segments depending on the species and are attached to a ‘hump’ on the head. Thick-headed flies have long, thin, transparent wings, which can be purple, red to yellow or brownish in colour. The chest plate (pronotum) often has a marking made up of dark spots and a silver-coloured pattern. The abdomen of the flies varies in form and appearance according to species and can be wasp like in shape. In some species the appearance of the abdomen resembles that of hoverflies. The specimens of the genus Dallmannia have long ovipositors.
Thick-headed flies prefer open, dry habitats and live on dry meadows, lawns, fields, roadsides and forest edges. The adult flies feed on the nectar of various flowers and plants such as aster, umbellifers, willow, black thorn and thistles. Thick-headed flies are active from May to September.
Females lay their eggs on sitting or slow flying host animals, especially on bees, bumblebees, wasps, or sometimes grasshoppers. They cling to the host animal and lay eggs between the segments of their abdomen. The hatching larvae then eat their way into the abdomen of the host animal, reside there and feed on the insides of the host until it is hollow. The larvae overwinter in the host insects. Some species, such as Conops flavipes (the most common species of the genus Conops) live in the nests of bees and bumblebees where their larvae feed on the bee brood.

Common namesThick-headed Flies, Thick headed flies
German namesDickkopffliegen, Blasenkopffliegen
Dutch namesBlaaskopvliegen
Danish namesHvepsefluer
Finnish namesNaamiokärpäset
Norwegian namesVepsefluer
Swedish namesStekelflugor
AuthorLatreille, 1802







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Links and ReferencesConopidae in
Conopidae in
Conopidae in
Conopidae in
Conopidae in Wikipedia (English)

Further chapters of "Thick-headed Flies"
- Sicus ferrugineus
- Conops flavipes
Description of images / photos
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1. Thick-headed Fly - Sicus ferrugineus
2. Thick-headed fly - Conops flavipes
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Thick-headed Flies, Thick headed flies
AuthorLatreille, 1802
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