Members of this Order of insects are extremely diverse. Many are small and agile flies as their name suggests. Some flies carry the tainted reputation for being carriers of disease such as malaria and yellow fever. Fly groups include crane flies, midges, gnats, mosquitos, black flies, horse flies, window flies, robber flies, bee flies, house flies, fruit flies, shore flies, dung flies, flesh flies and many others.
These brine flies are found in the millions along the shores of Mono Lake in Northern California. Native American tribes used to gather the fly puparia as food. Their larvae feed on the algae that grows in the warm shallows of this salty lake. Adults feed on other insects who land on the water but are generally preoccupied with the reproductive tasks at hand. Their abundance along less salty bodies of water makes them an important food source for fish. Clouds of these small black flies take to the air as you wander into their seemingly inhospitable niche. I found tiger beetles busy catching these shore flies.