Possible Picture Winged Fly from The Congo

Subject: Unidentifiable fly
Location: Republic of Congo (Odzala NP)
July 7, 2016 1:42 am
For almost a year now I have been trying to identify this fly. Still, I have not found what species it is. My guess is that it belongs to the Ulidiidae, but I am not sure. Does anyone have an idea what species this fly could be? I photographed it in the Republic of the Congo
Signature: Daniel Nelson

Possibly Picture Winged Fly
Possibly Picture Winged Fly

Dear Daniel,
We agree that this could be a Picture Winged Fly in the family Ulidiidae, but we would seriously consider expanding the possibilities to include the superfamily Tephritoidea that includes Ulidiidae.  The perspective of your image, while quite artful, is not ideal for identification purposes if considered alone.  We once recall reading that four different views are helpful in identifying Robber Flies:  dorsal, lateral, head showing eyes and one other view that currently escapes our memory.  Alas, we cannot locate where we read that.  Furthermore, while quite pretty, many small flies do not command the same attention as large and showy butterflies, moths and beetles that are all much better represented on the internet.  Species from Africa are far less well documented on the internet than North American, Australian and British species.  We feel if you are only depending upon the internet, exact species identification based on this single image might not be possible.  With all that stated, we are posting your gorgeous image and we appeal to our readership to provide comments with any suggestions they may have.

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