Currently viewing the category: "Soldier Flies"
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Subject: unknown bug species
Location: melbourne, Victoria, Australia
May 12, 2015 1:20 am
Hi,
I’m wondering what this insect is. I have found several outside my house. Do they fly? Are they harmful? What are they?
Regards,
Signature: Sharon

Flightless female Soldier Fly

Flightless female Soldier Fly

Dear Sharon,
Your unusual insect is
Boreoides subulatus, a flightless female Soldier Fly in the family Stratiomyidae, subfamily Chiromyzinae, and the last image we posted of this unusual insect was allegedly sighted in the UK.

Thank you so much for getting back to me. Very interesting.
Warm regards,
Sharon

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Subject: What is this?
Location: England, uk
April 10, 2015 5:52 am
Just wondering what this is and if it’s harmless? Thank you
Signature: Kelly

Flightless Fly

What’s This Australian Soldier Fly doing in England???

Dear Kelly,
For now, we are calling this by the oxymoronic name of flightless Fly.  We are certain it is in the order Diptera, but beyond that, we cannot say at this time.  It does not appear to be the flightless Crane Fly Epidapus venaticus that we found pictured on the Earth Life Web Fly Page as the antennae are quite different from the linked drawing.
  We are going to seek some other opinions.

Chen Young provides some information
Hi Daniel,
Your doubt has its merit, this is not a crane fly and I don’t know off hand who she is.  I will need to ask my colleague about this one.  Could you provide me with the information as where this lady is from?  Please double check with your source, my friend does not believe that this fly has an European origin.
Thanks,
Chen

Hi Daniel,
My colleague Dr. Martin Hauser from California Department of Food and Agriculture has identified your wingless fly as a primitive soldier fly Boreoides subulatus  (family  Stratiomyidae) from Australia, and they are found only in Australia.  Perhaps your source did not understand the importance of locality of the bugs when come to identification.
I have done a little more checking around and noticed that you had a webpage about this wingless fly.  They might look slight different but I think it is caused by the camera angle and lighting effect.
http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2010/04/03/mystery-of-the-month-mating-flies-from-australia/
Thanks,
Chen

Thanks so much for the response Chen.  We will try to get some verification from Kelly regarding the location of the sighting, and also if anyone in the area recently returned from Australia.

Eric Eaton Concurs
Gentlemen:
I looked this up online myself and came to the same conclusion as Martin Hauser, but did not reply because of the locality being the UK rather than Australia.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

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Subject: flattened out legless pill bug thing
Location: north texas
October 23, 2014 8:28 am
My parents have this device that makes compost from old bits of banana peels and whatnot, and every once in a while it will leak, so we put this metal tub underneath it. Now the tub has these strange bugs that move like caterpillars, or slugs, and have a back similar to a flattened out “pill bug”. We do not want the bugs in our garage, but are not sure what to do with them, because we don’t want to simply kill them.
Signature: nathan

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Dear Nathan,
These are Black Soldier Fly Larvae, and they are commonly found in compost piles where they contribute to the decomposition of organic materials.  They will not negatively affect the compost or your family.  They are benign and they should be left to do the job that they do so well.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

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Subject: Green and black horsefly looking bug
Location: Lake Charles, Louisiana
August 10, 2014 11:48 am
I live in Southwest Louisiana and was tending to one of my flower beds today on August 10, 2014 and ran across this bug grooming itself on a coneflower leaf. Could you please identify it for me? I was not sure if it is some sort of horsefly, wasp, or something totally different.
Signature: Lyndsey D.

Soldier Fly

Soldier Fly

Dear Lyndsey,
This is a Soldier Fly, possibly
Odontomyia cincta based on images posted to BugGuide.

Thank you so much for identifying this intriguing fly so quickly. I had trouble finding any images at all until you identified it.
Sincerely,
Lyndsey

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Subject: Daniel – Syrphid Fly?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 5, 2014 8:16 am
Hi,
We have a new to us plant that came up this year – a Brown-Eyed Susan. It’s attracting all kinds of neat bugs and I got these shots yesterday. I’m sure it’s a Syrphid Fly and I know they are hard to pin down exactly because there are so many of them, but would you please be able to confirm and maybe find which one it is?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Soldier Fly

Soldier Fly

Dear Anna,
We just went through all the Syrphid Flies twice in a feeble attempt to identify a “Corn Tassle Fly” sent to us from Indiana, so we were pretty certain your guess that this is a member of the family Syrphidae was incorrect, even though it greatly resembles the members of that family.  Our initial impulse that this is a Soldier Fly in the family Stratiomyidae proved to be correct.  We quickly identified your pretty Soldier Fly as
Odontomyia cincta thanks to this image on BugGuide which is a perfect match to your lateral view.

Odontomyia cincta:  Lateral View

Odontomyia cincta: Lateral View

Sadly, BugGuide has no species information, but we did learn on the genus page on BugGuide that we might have the species wrong because Species identification often requires examination of genitalia.”  BugGuide also notes the habitat is:  “Woodlands, fields, usually near water; larvae are aquatic” and “Adults take nectar, also sometimes found on dung; larvae feed on algae.”  We are guessing that you must have a water feature in your garden, or nearby.  Composite flowers, like this Black Eyed Susan and the Cosmos you grow are excellent for attracting pollinating insects like bees, wasps, beneficial flies and butterflies.  Alas, we only have four cosmos plants, and all are less than 18 inches tall right now.  None has bloomed yet.  The dry winter was not good for our normally very prolific garden.

Soldier Fly

Soldier Fly

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for the response.  I think you are correct, but the markings on mine are different than the photo of the Soldier Fly you linked to.
We have only a bird bath and small buckets of water (that algae grows in) that we put the legs to our worm composter in and then float mineral water on top of to keep the ants out of the composter.  Our neighbor to the south does have a pool that he doesn’t maintain very well . . .  I’m sorry to hear that your cosmos plants didn’t do well.  We’ve had only scattered blooms ourselves.  I think we’re a bit closer to the equator than you (joke) so may have had more rain.  Would you like to try your hand at scattering some Brown-eyed Susan seeds next spring?
Thanks again,
Anna

Thanks Anna,
Rudbeckia has naturalized in our yard, and some years there are more and some years less.  this year it is less, but hopefully seeds will drop.
Perhaps your Soldier Fly is a different species in the genus.  Alas, we do not have the necessary credentials to inspect the genitalia.

 

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Subject: Soldier Fly–Hedriodiscus Varipes
Location: Wilderness State Park, Michigan
July 5, 2014 7:25 pm
Hello! Sorry I’ve missed a couple of days; I’ve been busy doing research. I’m sure y’all are busy as well! Today, I’ve brought you a soldier fly which I think I’ve got pinned down as Hedriodiscus varipes. The pattern on the head is pretty distinct for this species compared to other Hedriodiscuses–but what really confirms it for me is that Bugguide only has one picture of this species, taken back in 2007, in Wilderness State Park in Michigan… which is exactly where I found my specimen. (Bugguide does note that the species are hard to distinguish, but the genus is right, anyway.) It was very interested in these flowers, avidly dabbing at them with its tongue. This is a very large fly–the size of a horse fly, easily.
Signature: Helen

Soldier Fly:  Hedriodiscus varipes

Soldier Fly: Hedriodiscus varipes

Dear Helen,
This fly is positively gorgeous, both in color and in markings, and we are quite certain its impressive size added to its beauty.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are aquatic” so they are most likely always found near a habitable water source.

Soldier Fly:  Hedriodiscus varipes

Soldier Fly: Hedriodiscus varipes

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination