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Extremely common in the amber record, flies comprise one of the largest of all orders, Diptera, with nearly a quarter of a million species. Flies arose in the middle Triassic period, the same time dinosaurs split off from their reptilian ancestors. Three major groups evolved in three eras - 220, 180, and 65 million years ago with only about half identified. Adapted for flight, they usually have streamlined bodies with wings and flight muscles in their enlarged thorax. Most distinctive are their typically large compound eyes in their mobile heads, along with comparatively short antennae. Sometimes still brightly colored, their eyes are often the focus of these images.

Flies are distinguished from other flying insects by having a pair of small knobbed structures (halteres) modified from the hind wings. They act as vibrating gyroscopes, helping the insect balance their body during flight – one of the reasons for their extraordinary aerobatic maneuvers. However, it can be very difficult to tell dipterans, "true flies", from other insects. Mosquitoes (Culicidae) are a part of this order.

Flies have no teeth or other limbs to eat with, and so cannot eat solid foods. Some flies use knife-like mandibles to make incisions and then lap up the blood. Flies have long been associated with death and plagues, and today evoke mortality and the impermanence of life. However, in the amber record, they can preserve their lifelike beauty for eons...

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