Currently viewing the category: "Flies"
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Subject: Unknown winged insect
Location: SE Baton Rouge, Louisiana
January 19, 2015 7:50 am
I was refilling my bird feeders when this insect dropped off the remains of a seed block onto my trash container. The critter measured about .75 inch from front feet to tail.
From the looks of those antennae my guess is that he navigates by scent or vibration rather than vision.
Any idea what it is?
Signature: Russ Norwood

Male Midge

Male Midge

Dear Russ,
This is a male (yes those antennae enable him to locate a female) member of the order Diptera that includes Flies and related insects with two wings.  We suspect this is a male Midge or male Gnat and it looks quite similar to this image of
 Apsectrotanypus johnsoni that we located on BugGuide, however, BugGuide indicates a size of 4mm, which is considerably smaller than the 3/4 inch you have indicated.  We will try to determine the species identity of your large male Midge.  Of the Lake Midge from further North, BugGuide indicates:  “Wing length typically 5.9 mm, occasionally as long as 7.5 mm. Male body length typically 10, occasionally as long as 13 mm. This is the largest member of the family.”

Thanks for the rapid reply as well as for your very interesting response.  My estimate of size was rough, so is probably best taken with a grain of salt.  I included everything from the tip of the (abdomen?) to the tips of the two extended front legs.
Thanks to your kind response I looked up the species elsewhere.  This reference on wikipedia mentions that some may feed on sugars.  For what it’s worth, the seeds in the block remnant on which I found him were glued together with sugars.
I’ve made a donation Daniel.  Thanks again.
Russ Norwood

Thanks for your kind donation Russ.  We are still awaiting a response from Eric Eaton to see if he recognizes you Midge.

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:

It is indeed a male midge, family Chironomidae, and some can get pretty large.  There is somebody that has written a book about midges of the southeast, … John Epler.  Here’s his web page link:
http://home.comcast.net/~johnepler3/index.html
Eric

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Subject: a bee I can’t identify
Location: San Diego, CA
January 5, 2015 4:34 pm
while I was at work on a job site here in Chula Vista, CA (San Diego county) my Co worker pulled up in his work van and I noticed what looked like a bee in the door crack. I really took notice when I was trying to see what kind of bee it was and it’s eyes were a metallic gold with black stripes. I got the best picture of it I could have. the pictures doesn’t capture the metallic of they eyes but you can see how they are striped. I Googled like crazy looking for this insect and started to think I found a new bee. please help me identify this as I have never seen anything like it before. thanks
Signature: Miguel

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Hi Miguel,
This is not a Bee.  It is a Fly in the family Syrphidae, and the members of the family are called Hover Flies or Flower Flies.  Many Hover Flies mimic bees and wasps as a means of protection.  Masquerading as a stinging insect is beneficial for the harmless fly.  We believe your Hover Fly is
Eristalinus taeniops, a species that is “A widespread Old World species introduced to California” according to BugGuide.

Thank you so much for clarifying this I kinda had a feeling it might have been a fly because when I poke it with a stick it really didn’t move or seem aggressive.

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Subject: Unknown bug
Location: St Paul inside kitchen
December 31, 2014 1:20 pm
Dead of winter in St Paulwhen this creature appears on the kitchen floor barely able to fly to the wall but he does! Body an inch long and
Beautiful variegated wings…what is it?
Signature: Frankie

Crane Fly

Crane Fly

Dear Frankie,
This harmless insect is a Crane Fly in the infraorder Tipulomorpha.  We will attempt a species identification for you and we are quite curious about its appearance in late December.

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Subject: bee indentification
Location: west bengal, india
December 24, 2014 9:57 am
i would love to know which bee it is. it looks like a mutated form of bee.regards.
Signature: sreeradha seth

Flower Fly

Flower Fly

Dear Sreeradha Seth,
This is not a bee, but rather a fly in the family Syrphidae that is mimicking a bee.  Commonly called Flower Flies or Hover Flies, members of the family Syrphidae do not sting.  Your individual looks very similar to this Flower Fly from India we posted in the spring.  We were not successful with an identification to the species or genus level.

Flower Fly

Flower Fly

Thank you very much for identifying the bug. It was very helpful.
Regards,Sreeradha Seth

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Subject: large shiny black fly
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
December 22, 2014 10:42 pm
This fly is larger than a large housefly and is conspicuously hairless compared to a housefly. It is jet black and has interesting colored patches on its wings.
Signature: Dirk

Mexican Cactus Fly

Mexican Cactus Fly

Dear Dirk,
This is a wonderful image of an impressive fly in the family Syrphidae, commonly called a Mexican Cactus Fly,
Copestylum mexicanum.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on rotting cactus” and adults are frequently seen visiting flowers. 

Thank you, Daniel!  It somehow makes a big difference to the enjoyment of an image to know who the subject is.  Dirk

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Subject: It’s THE FLY!!
Location: Toledo District, Belize
December 19, 2014 1:19 pm
Howdy, fellow bug fans,
I took this photo just before Halloween, but never had good enough internet to get it off for your help in ID’ing it. I’d never seen one before and haven’t seen one since.
Pretty cool.
Thanks.
Signature: Tanya

Probably Robber Fly

Timber Fly

Dear Tanya,
This fly sure looks predatory, which makes us speculate it is probably in the family Asilidae, the Robber Flies and Deer Flies.  It really resembles this image of a Timber Fly,
Pantophthalmus cf. pictus from Costa Rica that is posted to Piotr Naskrecki’s The Smaller Majority website.  According to Piotr:  “Timber flies are a small family, consisting of only 2 genera and 22 species, all found in the lowland rainforests of Central and South America. In addition to their unholy size they differ from other flies in that their larvae are wood burrowers, something that traditionally has been the domain of longhorns and other beetles. There are other flies that feed on wood (some Syrphidae and Asilidae), but those are incapable of drilling their own tunnels in the wood and can only use those already created by beetles or other insects.  Little is known about the behavior of adult timber flies. Nobody is really sure if they feed at this stage, and if so, on what. They have never been seen mating, although oviposition has been observed. Females have a long, telescopic ovipositor, which they use to deposit eggs in the cracks of dead and live wood, depending on the species. These insects are not common.”  This is only the third Timber Fly we have posted to our site.  We will try to contact Piotr to verify that identification.

Probably Robber Fly

Timber Fly

Piotr Naskrecki confirms genus identification
Hi Daniel,
Yes, it is definitely Pantophthalmus, and it does look similar to pictus.
Cheers,
Piotr

Thanks, Daniel,
We live in a heavily forested area in Belize, so this ID makes lots of sense.  It’s great to keep discovering new-to-us life forms in a place where we’ve lived for a long time.

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