Currently viewing the category: "Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

Amy Gosch liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tachinid Fly of Australia
Location: South-East Tasmania
December 14, 2014 8:21 pm
Photo taken 11 Dec 2014, SE Tasmania. Copyright David Irwin, 2014.
Nikon D7100; 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3; F.L. 600mm.
My husband photographed this blowfly sitting above the headlight of our car. It was approximately the size of a human thumb. [Ed Note:  This should be thumb nail.] This photo shows great detail in the face of the fly. I have several images, as the fly stayed put, no matter how close we came. Though we couldn’t get too close, because on that occasion, David had the large 600mm zoom mounted and needed to get a few metres away for it to focus. It also had a very deep hum when it eventually flew off (when I went to compare size to my thumb[nail]). However, the one posted here is the clearest. Hand holding a heavy zoom lense is difficult.
This bug website (Whats This Bug) has 2 distinctly different Tachinid Flies (with a striking white band) on file, one is the ‘Bristle Fly’, or Amphibolia Vidua (my photo submitted), and one is the Formosia Specia, which is detailed in this scientific record:
http://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/1f1319a4-d231-4b1c-acf2-86627aff3fb9;jsessionid=9203058C513D7BAD7223F7123AD42FA6
Both flies look similar, but there are distinct differences – I have also detailed the two flies in my FB post here:
https://www.facebook.com/tasmanianartist/photos/a.10154934951460015.1073741869.204763860014/10154928182185015/?type=3&theater
with more photos from flickr, and ‘Atlas of Living Australia’.
What I’ve been able to find out is that Amphibolia vidua has 2 black dots on the white band [and even if they join, they still are identifyable as 2], and Formosia Specia has one black dot on the white band, with 2 white extensions towards the fly’s tail. Their eyes are set differently, too. Both occur in Tasmania, and Australian mainland.
cheers from down under
Signature: Marlies

Bristle Fly

Bristle Fly

Dear Marlies,
Thanks for your rigorous pursuit of the identity of your Bristle Fly,
Amphibolia vidua, and also for explaining the differences between this species and Formosia (Euamphibolia) speciosa, another Bristle Fly or Tachinid Fly in the same family.

Hello Daniel
What a journey that was! A fly took charge of almost an entire week! But it was fun :-)
I must say, I was a little distracted by my heart monitor, and other associated ‘things’, and haven’t exactly paid attention too much whether I made any sense at all – I do apologize if I confused everyone.
My husband photographed Amphibolia Vidua. This is the image I submitted. I then found another image attached to the Australian site ‘Atlas of Living Australia’, of which I posted the link (http://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/1f1319a4-d231-4b1c-acf2-86627aff3fb9;jsessionid=9203058C513D7…); THAT image on that site was of the Formosia Speciosa image that I mentioned. (Yes, both are Tachinid Flies, or Bristle Flies – that took a while to sink in with me, as I had no idea that there was any difference between a fly and a fly, before all of this – tho I know there are flies here that look like honey bees, and they wait for honey bees to come along, then ambush and kill them, I’ve observed them do it).
Here is the link to the image details – I think you may be able to link to the photo (which brings the photo up on your site). http://images.ala.org.au/image/details?imageId=b963f524-b62f-494e-bfde-db2b9b04115c
You also have a photo of a Formosia Speciosa (post titled ‘Australian Tachinid Fly appears to be Formosia speciosa’, and it is the one where I posted all of my ‘findings’, and where you replied to my expansive ramblings).
So, you do have both flies; they’re difficult to distinguish, but somehow, by counting the dots, I managed to join them (pardon the pun). And others clearly identify the Amphibolia Vidua – I’ve posted the relevant flickr posts on my facebook thread about the fly …
https://www.facebook.com/tasmanianartist/photos/a.10154934951460015.1073741869.204763860014/10154928
It’s been a real pleasure fiddling with a peculiar blow fly for once, and to leaf through your website – what a treasure trove; great stuff – love it. If I ever come across a bug again that I can’t identify, your website will certainly be my #1 stop.
I hope that you’ll correct my typo, which says the fly is about the size of a ‘human thumb’ … it certainly is not, it is the size of a HUMAN THUMB NAIL – and I did it twice in the same text.
Best wishes to you
cheerio from downunder
Marlies

Sue Dougherty, Jacob Helton, Amy Gosch liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: I know it’s not a bird or a plane :D
Location: Mumbai, India
December 12, 2014 10:55 am
But what is it? It was executing some low-to-the-floor flying manoeuvres and then settled down on my kitchen wall. Is it a wasp of some sort? What sort? Oh, also, my cats – normally enthusiastic bug serial killers won’t go near it. This is a good thing looking at that sting, but is is a clue?
Signature: – Lenny

Crane Fly

Crane Fly

Dear Lenny,
This beautiful insect is a Crane Fly, and we believe it probably derives some protection by mimicking the appearance of a stinging wasp.  India Nature Watch pictures an individual identified as
 Pselliophora laeta that looks just like your individual.

Sneaky! :) Thanks so much.

Christy Harris, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug
Location: Melbourne victoria Australia
December 4, 2014 3:22 am
Hi there bug man we caught this bug today and have never ever seen anything like it we live in victoria Australia it is summer time here this bug makes an extreme loud buzzing noise I’ve tried doing a Google image search and I’ve found nothing it kinda looks crossed between a few things hopefully you can shed some light on what it is thanks for your time bug man or ladyb ;)
Regards dumb founded buggers
Signature: Beck Shawn and the 3 kids

Robber Fly, we presume

Robber Fly, we presume

Dear Beck Shawn and the 3 kids,
We cannot imagine that this is anything other than a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae.  This individual looks like the same species as this previous posting of a Robber Fly from Melbourne submitted in December 2012.  It is not uncommon to have seasonal sightings of species of insects as most live no more than a few weeks as adults.  Robber Flies are top of the insect food chain predators that can take other predators, including Yellowjackets and other Wasps, on the wing.  Like other flies, Robber Flies have a single pair of wings, yet having one pair less than most insects seems to have improved rather than to have inhibited their ability to fly.
  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this identification.

Update:  December 20, 2014
We just received a comment that this is Neoaratus hercules, a large Robber Fly
It is pictured on the Atlas of Living Australia and on Insect Net it is called a Hercules Robber Fly.

Vickie Allen Griffin, Sue Dougherty, Amy Gosch liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: South Africa
December 4, 2014 10:46 pm
On a recent trip to a game reserve in South Africa (Pilanesburg), we stopped at a picnic area and came across these weird looking “flies”. They where large, being approximately 2 cm long and there where about 20 of them in one concentrated area. They where very lethargic and did not fly off when approached or even moved with a stick. They move slowly.
Signature: Regards, Sean

Buzzard Signal Fly

Buzzard Signal Fly

Dear Sean,
To say that we were taken aback when we first viewed your images is an understatement.  We could not even decide if this was a wasp or a fly.  The general shape of the body indicated to us that it is a fly, yet the head almost looked more like a wasp.  To further complicate matters, our first stop for South African identifications, iSpot, is currently doing a site migration and though we found images that looked similar, we were unable to read about those sightings on iSpot.
  We eventually located a posting on FlickR that identified this unusual fly as a Rooikopvlieg, Bromophila caffra.

Rooikopvlieg

Rooikopvlieg

Searching that scientific name lead us to Beetles in the Bush where a lengthy posting provided a common name of Buzzard Signal Fly.  According to Beetles in the Bush:  “It is a member of the family Platystomatidae, commonly known as signal flies and part of the great superfamily Tephritoidea of fruit fly fame (i.e., true fruit flies – not “the” fruit fly which belongs to the family Drosophilidae and which are more properly called vinegar flies). … But what about Bromophila caffra? Aside from being one of the most recognizable of flies in Africa, it’s sluggish disposition and apparent noxiousness were obvious even to early naturalists. Marshall (1902) noted the similarity of its coloration (black body, blue wings, red or yellow head) to that of two Pompilus spp. and one sphecid wasp with which it occurred sympatrically.”    In closing, Beetles in the Bush coins a heretofore lacking common name with this justification:  “I find it surprising that a large, strikingly distinctive, abundant insect such as Bromophila caffra should lack a common name, but it appears this is the case. None was given in Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, nor amongst the several South African wildlife and dipteran websites which I encountered featuring photos of this insect. In thinking about what common name Bromophila caffra could have, I can’t help but draw comparisons between this insect and the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), or “buzzard,” of North America (despite their belonging to entirely separate phyla). Both species are among the larger members of their respective orders and make their living eating repulsive foodstuffs. Hulking black with naked, red, plastic-like heads, most predators regard them as too vile and noxious to bother with, leaving them free to pass their lives in unmolested disdain. With this in mind, I hereby propose ‘buzzard signal fly’ as the official common name for this insect.”

Buzzard Signal Fly

Buzzard Signal Fly

 

Linda Singleton, Amy Gosch, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: NC
November 30, 2014 6:36 pm
I took this photo a few years ago and came across it again today. I can’t figure out what these bugs are. Can you help?
Signature: Mike

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Hi Mike,
We love your image of mating Red Footed Cannibalflies.

Andrea Leonard Drummond, Sue Dougherty, Vanessa Simone liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination