Giant flower-loving fly Greetings,
First off thank you for your time. I believe this belongs to the genus of giant flower loving flys could you tell me which species and why. Also where would I look to find such info. Thanks Again,
The picture is from 2 weeks ago in South Western Kern County. Thanks
Hi again John,
So, it was photographed in California. Thanks for writing back to us with a location. We hope our readership will forgive us for not keeping true to our recent “threat” to place all letters without locations directly into the trash because we recognized this would be an excellent addition to our archives. The genus of Giant Flower Loving Flies that you mention is Apiocera, in the family Apioceridae, and BugGuide only has one mounted specimen in the archives and no real information. Geocities has wonderful images of an Australian species, Apiocera asilica, and the general body shape resembles your specimen, but the coloration is quite different. Wikipedia indicates: “The Apioceridae , or flower-loving flies , are a small (approximately 150 species) family of flies , all in the single genus Apiocera . They occur mostly in dry sandy habitats in the deserts of North America ,South America , and Australia.” and “Apiocerids are found in sandy, arid and semiarid habitats. Hovering over bare patches of ground they can emit a loud hum. Despite the common name, most Apiocera never visit flowers, but rather are found running on the ground near sparse vegetation, or feeding on honeydew beneath aphid -infested plants. They are often seen drinking from damp sand with their sponge-like mouth-parts.” Your specimen appears to have more of a pointed long proboscis similar to the Bee Flies in the family Bombyliidae (well represented on BugGuide but not matching images), and quite different from the images on Geocities. A photo of a mounted specimen of Apiocera haruspex has a striking similarity to the contours of the fly in your photo, especially the terminal portions of the abdomen, but the proboscis is not visible. That is a long and inconclusive response on our part. We will contact Eric Eaton, who currently has computer problems and may not respond quickly, and hope he can provide some insight. Additionally, some reader may have an answer. Since Giant Flower Loving Flies are not common, and a specialist is needed, this may take some time.
Update from Eric Eaton (08/04/2008)
Wow! Most definitely a giant flower-loving fly! What a great find! Male, too, evidenced by the very bulbous tip of the abdomen. Rick Rogers is the expert on these. He is also a singer and all-round entertainer in the Los Angeles area. Sorry I don’t have his e-mail handy to give to you. I’m curious whether this is the famous, endangered Delhi Sands flower-loving fly….
Hello again Daniel (sorry not Eric), I did get a hold of Rick, he thought Raphiomidas undulatus / acton. I just sent him the location and am waiting for a response. It looks like it might be acton but I haven’t keyed it out nor am I really familiar with insects. Cheers,