Stiletto fly (Spiriverpa lunulata)

Spiriverpa lunulata
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Stiletto fly fact file

Stiletto fly description

GenusSpiriverpa (1)

The stiletto fly Spiriverpa lunulata is a pale grey colour, and covered in fine downy hairs that give the fly a 'fluffy' appearance. The large eyes are a bronze-brown colour, and the legs are dark reddish-brown (2). Like all flies, this species has one pair of true wings; the second pair of wings are reduced to club-like balancing appendages called 'halteres' (4).

Length: 10-11 mm (2)

Stiletto fly biology

Very little is known of the ecology of this species. The larvae of all stiletto flies are soil predators, and it is presumed that those of Spiriverpa lunulata live in loose sand (3).


Stiletto fly range

In Great Britain, this species has been recorded from just a handful of sites in Scotland, the north of England, and south and west Wales (3). Recording effort has been greatly increased recently, and a few new sites have been discovered, but some existing sites are threatened. In Europe, this fly has a wide distribution, but its status is unclear in many countries (2).


Stiletto fly habitat

This stiletto fly is associated with sandy riverbanks, particularly where sand ridges build up (3). It needs open conditions, with no shading by trees (3).


Stiletto fly status

Classified as Rare in Great Britain (3).


Stiletto fly threats

The threats facing this species include the removal of sandy sediments from rivers for aggregates, and the deepening and canalisation of rivers (3).


Stiletto fly conservation

This stiletto fly is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) priority species, and a Species Action Plan has been written in order to outline action required to conserve it, with the over-riding aim being the maintenance of all current populations (3). The organisation responsible for the delivery of these actions (the 'lead partner') is the Environment Agency. Future work on this fly will aim to determine the ecological requirements and distribution of the species more precisely, and to produce guidance on sympathetic river management (2). A number of known sites are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and a few populations occur in candidate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), including those on the rivers Usk and Tywi in Wales (3).


Find out more

For more on this species see the UK Biodiversity Species Action Plan available on-line at:
For more on the Environment Agency see:



Information authenticated by the Environment Agency:



Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.


  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (August 2002)
  2. Environment Agency (2000) Focus on biodiversity. The Environment Agency, Bristol.
  3. UK BAP Species Action Plan (August 2002):
  4. Allaby, M. (1991) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Zoology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Image credit

Spiriverpa lunulata  
Spiriverpa lunulata

© Roger Key

Dr Roger Key
Tel: +44 (0) 1845 567 292


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