The fly group is a monster collection. Daunting. One of the largest Orders of insects on our wet, green planet Earth. Distinguished by, well, that very 'fly' look: one pair of wings and the second hind pair reduced to the knobby structure that serves as a wing stop and a balance 'thingey' for these aerial masters. (Well, some of them are masters anyway.) If an insect has these knobs which are called halteres then it is, indeed, a fly. Nothing else has them.

Here in this group are the mosquitoes, the gnats, the no-see-ums, the house flies (which are actually highly evolved insects), the horse flies, the crane flies, the bee flies, the blow flies. And many more that the average naturalist or gardener never sees or recognizes. Some are so common they boggle the mind, some are so rare that even the Dipteran scientists will likely never find one. They pollinate, they transmit disease, they destroy crops, they bite and suck. They prey on other insects, sometimes to our benefit, sometimes not. It is both a lovely and an ugly collection.