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Filter Fly (Clogmia albipunctata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Filter Fly

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The presence of Filter Flies, or Drain Flies, in bathrooms is not uncommon, but that does not make it any more welcome.

Updated: 03/23/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Fuzzy, black Filter Flies are often seen sitting on bathroom stall doors and the surrounding walls. Many a human has swatted at one in an attempt to keep it from landing on them while exposed and in a vulnerable position. Toilets and sinks are not the only place one finds this type of fly. In nature, it is often seen near stinky ponds and other wet areas where decay occurs. Most people, however, associate this type of Moth Fly with sewage, waste, and garbage.

Because this small fly sports fuzz on its wings, it resembles a moth. The Filter Fly is black with a hairy fringe around its rounded wings. It has two black dots on the upper part of each wing. A faintly checkered border around the wings edges may show small white spots. The gray-black thorax is very hairy, as is its body (the abdomen). Antennae are white tipped and segmented. Two of its six black legs are usually out in front of the fly when resting. Look for a thin, white ring around the legs.

The dark, wormy larvae, or maggots, of the Filter Fly feed on decaying matter. That can be of plant origin in near the edge of a stagnant pond, or it can be garbage. This species is not known to spread disease, but the knowledge of what kind of matter the adult lands on is often enough to instill a strong dislike of its company.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Psychodidae
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          Genus: Clogmia
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            Species: albipunctata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Clogmia albipunctata
Other Name(s): Moth Fly, Sewage Fly, Filth Fly, Drain Fly, Bathroom Fly, Mothmidge
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 1mm to 4mm (0.03" to 0.15")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black
Descriptors: furry, fuzzy, drain, sewer, toilet, rotting, obnoxious, bathroom, dirty, flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 1mm (0.0in) and 4mm (0.2in)
Lo: 1mm
Md: 2.5mm
Hi: 4mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Filter Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Filter Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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