Currently viewing the category: "Chiromyzinae"
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Subject: Wingless soldier fly
Location: Sodwalls, NSW Australia
April 10, 2016 3:45 pm
Thank you for your reply to my query about how to add photos. Here is a photo of the bug which l finally identified as boreoides subulatus.
Signature: Elizabeth

Wingless Female Soldier Fly: Boreoides subulatus

Wingless Female Soldier Fly: Boreoides subulatus

Dear Elizabeth,
Thanks so much for submitting your high quality image of a flightless female Soldier Fly from Australia,
Boreoides subulatus.  The first time we received an image of this species, it created quite a stir in our offices. 

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Subject: unknown bug species
Location: melbourne, Victoria, Australia
May 12, 2015 1:20 am
I’m wondering what this insect is. I have found several outside my house. Do they fly? Are they harmful? What are they?
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,

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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.

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.

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
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.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

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What is this bug? Is it dangerous?
Location: Katoomba, NSW, Australia
April 20, 2012 5:40 am
We’ve been finding these bugs all over outside and my little boy has been playing with them. I just need to make sure they are not dangerous since they are all over the place lately.
Signature: -Autumn and Mark

Wingless Fly: Chiromyzinae species

Dear Autumn and Mark,
In January 2007 we received a similar photo from Australia.  We knew the creature was a fly, but we were uncertain if it was wingless or if the wings were somehow lost.  We eventually learned it was a wingless female fly in the Soldier Fly subfamily Chiromyzinae.  At that time, there was no information available on the internet.  Now we located a Tree of Life web page posted in 2008 that states:  “Chiromyzinae is an unusual group of soldier flies as the larvae are predominantly phytophagous, with many species feeding on the roots of grasses (James 1981; Oosterbroek 1998).”  These wingless Soldier Flies are harmless.

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Australian bug mating in Autumn
April 3, 2010
This pair of bugs is defying my attempts to identify them, The picture was taken in Eastern Australia south of Sydney in early autumn. There were many similar mating pairs visible. The female is 1 inch long and appears to have no wings. the male is winged but much smaller.
Bruce Terry, Sydney, Australia
Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Unknown Sexually Dimorphic Mating Flies from Australia

Dear Bruce,
Had your photo arrived two days earlier, our first reaction would have been that someone was playing a very good April Fool’s Day joke on us and we would have searched for evidence of photoshop tampering.  Our second thought was that this might be an accidental encounter between unrelated species, but the magnification revealed penetration barely visible under the wings of the male.  Your written account of the sighting also discounts the accidental encounter between unrelated species possibility.  These are flies, and there are species of flies that are wingless, but we don’t know of a species with such pronounced sexual dimorphism in which only the female is wingless.  This may take us hours of research that we could otherwise spend answering the increasing number of letters we are beginning to receive now that spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere.  We have opted for posting without an identification, leaving it as an announcement at the top of our homepage until we get a response with a correct identification.  Karl has returned from Costa Rica and he is wonderful at internet research.  Have you any additional photos from other angles?
Back in January 2007, we posted a photo from Australia of a Wingless Fly that was identified as a female Boreoides subulatus
in the subfamily Chiromyzinae and this is probably the same subfamily, so we will be creating a new fly subcategory now that there are two postings on our site.

Dear Daniel, Thank you for your very prompt response, and for the star billing on the website!
I attach another photo (not exactly the same bug, that one had disappeared) but the same species, this time with no attendant male.
It shows more clearly the foreparts which might help with identification.
Thank you for your help with this.
Best regards
Bruce Terry

Wingless Australian Fly: subfamily Chiromyzinae

Hi again Bruce,
Thanks so much for the high quality additional photo.  This should assist any Diptera experts that view our site.

April 4, 2010
Mirth provided us with a comment, though the link did not show.  We did a web search of the information she provided, and we found this Csiro website.

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Australian bug
These pictures are of a bug which was found in my courtyard in the Blue Mountains, Australia. It was only about 2 cm in length. I have been trying to keep a record of the different wildlife which live in my backyard, something which started last year as a school project, but have been unsuccessful in identifying this creature. Can you help? Best Wishes

Hi Petah,
We have tried to identify this Wingless Fly, but sadly, we had no luck. We are checking if Eric Eaton has any clues. Here is Eric’s revelation: “I have no idea what the wingless fly is, but it would appear it once ‘did’ have wings, and they were torn off at some point. That is a pity, as wing venation patterns are of the greatest help in identifying flies!”

Update: (09/20/2007) forwarded through Eric Eaton
I have a second question, how to get in contact with the people from “Whats that bug”? They had a pic of a Unknown Mutilated Wingless Australian Fly (01/13/2007) Australian bug And this turns out to be a Stratiomyidae, Boreoides subulatus, the females are always wingsless and it looks not even close to something we know here in the USA as a strat. It is out of the strange subfamily Chiromyzinae and this is an only Southern continent group. Only one species is introduced to Cal as a pest… So maybe you can email the people and give them the answer to their question. Also further down they have an Acrocerid as a Bombyliidae and a suspected “Mallota” which is a Merodon equestris. Looking forward to see your book! Cheers

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination