Early stages of soldierflies and allies

The larvae of soldierflies and allies are relatively well-known compared to some other Diptera groups, and some species are easier to find as larvae than as adults. Even so, there are many gaps in our knowledge, both in terms of how to identify the early stages and what their ecological requirements are.

The pages in this section are very much 'work in progress'. At the moment the main aim is simply to provide a place to share images and ideas about larvae, and how to find and rear them. Many of the images are unidentified or have tentative identifications. If anyone has further photos or experience of studying larvae and other early stages we would be pleased to hear from you (contact Martin Harvey).

Family pages

General resources

  • Keys to larvae and pupae are provided in the Stubbs and Drake British soldierflies and their allies: an illustrated guide to their identification and ecology. These take you to family, and in most cases to genus, and in some cases to species. They are an excellent starting point, but there are difficulties to bear in mind: for example, larvae can vary quite a lot in markings and shape as they grow.
  • Not soldierflies or allies of course, but there is an excellent Facebook group that provides lots of information on rearing and identifying hoverfly larvae: UK Hoverflies Larval Group.
  • Top tip from Nicola Garnham on preparing living larvae for photography: "If you want to clean up dirty larvae for photos pop them inside a folded piece of wettish/damp kitchen roll and let them wriggle about a bit. They come up surprisingly clean."

See also: