Challenge to our Readers: Help us identify this striking looking Fly
Subject: Giant Malaysian Fly
October 2, 2016 8:03 am
I’ve seen this fly on occasion and am unable to identify it. It’s the largest fly I’ve ever seen, around the size of a large deer fly, around 1.5 inches in size. Though I think I’ve even seen as big as 2 inches.
They have shiny, bluish backs, and about 1/4 of the end of their abdomen is yellow. They are generally slow.
We have not had any luck finding similar looking images online, but we believe this is a female Horse Fly in the family Tabanidae. Interestingly, our searches did bring up images of a “gold butt” Horse Fly that was captured in 1981 in Australia and has recently been named after pop diva Beyonce. According to Asian Scientist: “A previously un-named species of horse fly with golden hair on its lower abdomen has been named in honor of pop diva, Beyoncé – a member of the former group Destiny’s Child. AsianScientist (Jan. 13, 2012) – A previously un-named species of horse fly with golden hair on its lower abdomen has been named in honor of pop diva, Beyoncé – a member of the former group Destiny’s Child, that recorded the 2001 hit single, Bootylicious. According to the Australian National Insect Collection researcher responsible for officially ‘describing’ the fly as Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae, CSIRO’s Bryan Lessard, the fly’s spectacular gold color makes it the ‘all time diva of flies.'” The site also notes: “‘It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen that led me to name this fly in honor of the performer Beyoncé as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy – the naming of species,’ Mr Lessard said.” Weekly World News also picked up the story and notes: “CANBERRA, Australia — A newly discovered horse fly in Australia was so ‘bootylicious’ with its golden-haired butt, that entomologists named it: Beyonce. Previously published results from Bryan Lessard, a 24-year-old researcher at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, were recently announced on the species that had been sitting in a fly collection since it was captured in 1981 – the same year pop diva Beyonce was born.” Though your fly shares the striking gold butt, your individuals blue body and black wings make it an even more striking looking fly. We hope our readers will take up this challenge and write to us with their findings.
I appreciate the quick reply! I did a Google search with the “gold butt” Horse fly name, and saw what you’re referring to. It’s similar in appearance, but not identical. I don’t know if that means they’re related? The main difference is that the fly I found is completely hairless. If you guys want, I can capture one (next time I see one… I see them once every few months) and send it to you. I sometimes find them dead, and can prepare a specimen for you (if you let me know how. 🙂 ).
Hi again Alex,
Let’s let our readership attempt to identify your fly before we resort to capturing a specimen.