Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- An order of metabolous hexapod insects. They are two-winged insects, or flies, with two membranous wings with radiating nervures, not folded at rest, a posterior pair being only represented by halteres or poisers; no mandibles as such, but a suctorial proboscis instead, formed of modi-fled mandibles, maxillæ;, and the central labium, here called glossarium; usually two maxillary but no labial palpi; antennæ generally short; two large compound eyes, often of thousands of facets, and three ocelli orsimple eyes; and the prothorax and metathorax reduced, the mesotho-rax being correspondingly developed. Metamorphosis is complete; the larvæ are a podal, or with only rudimentary feet; the pupaæ are usually coarctate (see cut under
coarctate), sometimes obtected. The common house-fly, blue-bottle, etc., are characteristic examples. The power which many of these insects have of walking on smooth surfaces with back downward is due to the construction of the feet, which act as suckers. They have, besides the ordinary two claws, several little cushions called pulvilli, beset with fine hairs expanded at their tips into a kind of disk; the adhesion is aided in some cases by a viscid secretion of these hairs. The order is a very large one: there are said to be 9,000 European species alone, supposed to be not a twentieth part of the whole number. About 4,000 are described as North American. A few are useful scavengers, but many are injurious insects, and some are great pests. Gnats, mosquitos, gad-flies, blow-flies, bot-flies, tzetzes, etc., belong to this order. It is variously subdivided, one division being into four suborders: the pupipara, which are parasitic, and developed in the body of the parent, as the bee-lice; the Brachycera, or ordinary flies; the Nemocera, or crane-flies, gnats, midges, mosquitos, etc.; and the wingless Aphaniptera, or fleas, which are oftener ranked as a distinct order. Another division is into the suborders Orthorhapha and Cyclorhapha, according to the character of the metamorphosis: the former with two sections, Nematocera and Brachycera; the latter with also two sections, Aschiza and Schizophora.
- [l. c] Plural of dipteron.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) An extensive order of insects having only two functional wings and two balancers, as the house fly, mosquito, etc. They have a suctorial proboscis, often including two pairs of sharp organs (mandibles and maxillæ) with which they pierce the skin of animals. They undergo a complete metamorphosis, their larvæ (called maggots) being usually without feet.
- n. a large order of insects having a single pair of wings and sucking or piercing mouths; includes true flies and mosquitoes and gnats and crane flies
“You think politics are about being a diptera, buzzing around bothering people by regurgitating what some country club republican addict has people write for him?”
“I theorize that it may involve being bitten by a rare insect, diptera novelis, but have no proof at this time to substantiate my findings.”
“The coleoptera are, without exception, devoid of stings; the diptera have the sting in front, as the fly, the horsefly, the gadfly, and the gnat.”
“On this later-day Earth, drowsing through the late afternoon of its existence, only a few families of the old orders of hymenoptera and diptera survived in mutated form: most dreadful of these were the tigerflies.”
“Termites, crickets, red-bugs, stink-bugs, horseflies, mosquitoes, beetles and diptera of all shapes and sizes arise in millions as if spontaneously generated.”
“Coleoptera, hymenoptera, diptera, in fact, all insects exhibit the characteristic effects of alcohol when under its influence.”
“The land evertebrates were so sparingly represented, that only three diptera, one species of hymenoptera, and some insect larvæ and spiders could be collected.”
“The mosquitoes of Loreto have a deserved reputation for driving away such visitors as do not care to leave much of their blood with the redoubtable diptera.”
“I never observed the yak to be annoyed by any insects; indeed at the elevation it inhabits, there are no large diptera, bots, or gadflies to infest it.”
“That it is especially fond of insects is shown by the great activity it displays, when in captivity, in capturing house-flies and other diptera.”
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