Flies are insects with a pair of functional wings for flight and a pair of vestigial hindwings called halteres for balance. They are classified as an order called Diptera, that name being derived from the Greek δι- di- “two”, and πτερόν pteron “wings”. The order Diptera is divided into two suborders (although one suborder is non-monophyletic), with about 110 families divided between them; the families contain an estimated 1,000,000 species, including the familiar housefly, horse-fly, crane fly, and hoverfly; although only about 125,000 species have a species description published. The earliest fly fossils found so far are from the Triassic, about 240 million years ago; phylogenetic analysis suggests that flies originated in the Permian, about 260 million years ago.
Many insects, such as the butterfly, contain the word fly in their name, but are not Dipterans. Also, the word “fly” is sometimes used colloquially and non-scientifically as a name for any small flying insect: the term “true fly” is sometimes invoked to make clear the insect being referenced is a Dipteran.