Summer visitor to chapparal country in Southern California
First of all, I love your website. The variety of life on this planet is more fantastic than any other I’ve visited (at least in recent memory)! My wife and I have long wondered about a winged insect that shows up each year as the weather warms. It seems to like red wine; whenever we go in the backyard with a glass they seem to end up treating our glasses as their personal spa. Since it’s quite dark and looks a bit like the villains in the ‘Babylon 5’ TV series, we call them ‘Shadow Bugs’. They don’t seem harmful; at least they haven’t bitten us yet! We live on the edge of a rocky hill covered in chapparal (cactus, sage, and other desert shrubs). My wife grew up very near here, but in a more urban area and never saw one until we moved to our current house. I would estimate that this critter is between 3/4 of an inch and 1 inch long. In hopes that you can tell us what they are I’m enclosing two pictures. Thanks!
After doing some research, we believe this to be a Marsh Fly in the genus Sepedon. We located some images on BugGuide that look very similar. Perhaps some expert will write in with an exact species.
Correction: Cactus Fly
Provided by Eric Eaton (09/23/2007)
The “marsh fly” is actually a “cactus fly” in the family Neriidae. Fantastic image! We could use it over at Bugguide, as this family is under-represented. Larvae of these insects develop in rotting cacti.
(09/23/2007) Maybe a Marsh Fly – not a marsh fly
I enjoy the site. Your “Maybe a Marsh Fly” from 9/21/2007 is actually a Cactus Fly – Odontoloxozus longicornis. The larvae hang out in decaying cactus. Interesting that the adults like red wine, I’ll forced to experiment with that. Darn. Cheers,