Conopidae (Thick-Headed Flies)

The eight known Tasmanian conopid species belong in Conopinae, a subfamily whose larvae are solitary internal parasites of aceuleate Hymenoptera – ie bees and stinging wasps. The adults are remarkable mimics of the wasps and bees they parasitise and also some hover flies (Syrphidae), which themselves are also mimics of this group. Adult females lie in wait for foraging hosts and swiftly strike when they are close, usually depositing an egg in the abdomen where the larva will typically develop.

Six of the eight described Tasmanian species are endemic (E). Heteroconops tasmaniensis (E), Microconops tasmaniensis (E), and Tanyconops ocellatus (E) are noticeably hairy, with wings unmarked, and range in size from 5 to 6mm. It’s likely these species mimic and parasitise small native bees. Australoconops picus (E), Conops thoracicus, Physocephala nigrotestacea, Pleurocerina aquila (E), and Pleurocerina scutellata are larger, from around 9 to 15mm, have very short vestiture, and wings marked with brown (except P. scutellata which has unmarked wings). In general this second group is more wasp-like and probably parasitise solitary wasps.

Subfamily Conopinae
Genus Heteroconops
Heteroconops sp. Heteroconops sp. Heteroconops sp.

Genus Microconops
Microconops sp. Microconops sp.

Genus Myopa
Myopa sp.

Pending ID – Conopinae
Conopinae Conopinae

Schneider, M. A. 2010. A taxonomic revision of Australian Conopidae (Insecta: Diptera). Zootaxa 2581: 1-246.

Smith, G. V. 2012. Family Conopidae. In: Evenhuis, NL (ed.), Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions. (online version). Available at: Last accessed: 25 December 2012.