Platystomatidae are worldwide in distribution and one of the larger families of acalypterate Diptera (over 1,000 species of fossil and living forms in some 50 genera have been described). Adults of living taxa contain some of the more morphologically bizarre forms of all the Diptera and can be found on tree trunks and foliage. They are attracted to flowers, decaying fruit, excrement, sweat, and decomposing snails. Larvae are found on both fresh and decaying vegetation, carrion, human corpses, and root nodules. Most larvae are either phytophagous or saprophagous; however, some have been recorded as predaceous on other insects and others have been observed feeding on human lesions.

Only two fossil Diptera species have been described in Platystomatidae. One (Scholastes foordi) is from amber found in Norfolk, UK, which may be of Pliocene age if the medium is found to be true amber, or Pleistocene to Holocene in age, if the specimen is found to be copal from Africa (as the inclusion suggests). The other species (Ceroxys ethiopia), originally described as a member of an otitid genus from copal of Zanzibar, has been recently transferred by Crosskey (1980) to the Platystomatidae. This familial placement is followed here and the species is listed under generically unplaced Platystomatidae.


*SCHOLASTES Loew, 1873c: 38. Type species: Platystoma cincta Guérin-Méneville, 1831, by original designation.

foordi Cockerell, 1921a: 30. PA: UK (England) (Pliocene) [A].
[If found to be African copal (as the inclusion suggests), the age will have to be revised to either Pleistocene or Holocene.]

Unplaced Species of PLATYSTOMATIDAE

ethiopia Meunier, 1908g: 254 (Ceroxys). AF: Tanzania (Pleistocene/Holocene) [K].

This page last revised 17 February 1997 by nle