large black fly(?)
Mon, May 4, 2009 at 10:36 AM
Found on tomato plant 5-4-09, in South-central Texas. it is relatively large – more than 1 inch, at least. As the photos indicate, there is a faint light circle near the tips of the upper wings. Also, a bi-color spot (orange and buff) on each side of the abdomen near where it joins the thorax. The antennae are very prominent with black, white, and gray bands, and the head (which looks like mostly eyes) protrudes from the thorax on a small “neck”. It was not moving around very vigorously, perhaps newly hatched from compost or looking for a place to lay eggs. . .
Comal County, Texas
This is a Mydas Fly, probably Mydas clavatus. There are many great photos posted on BugGuide. Despite its wasplike appearance, the Mydas Fly will not sting nor bite humans. There are conflicting sources that claim it is predatory, and there are other sources that claim that males take nectar. Your compost theory is a good one since larvae live in rotting wood or soil where they prey on beetle larvae.
Thank you very much for the helpful i.d. and reply.
How could I have searched BugGuide more effectively to find the photos
and i.d. already there? I tried browsing images of two or three
subgroups under the diptera order, but there are just too many for that
to be a satisfactory search strategy.
I am an amateur naturalist, working on preparing a guide to wildscaping
Hill Country homes and farms, highlighting the native plants of our 7
acres, together with photo-illustrated lists of birds, reptiles &
amphibians, mammals, butterflies and moths, plus some of the
more-interesting other insects found here.
Predictably, the insect identification part is the hardest! I have
really appreciated your website as a resource, though.
Meredith McGuire, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Trinity
Good luck with your project. We frequently begin by browsing in BugGuide. There is a Browse option when you select an order, family or genus, so it is a really good way to narrow your search. We have to admit that we often spend many fruitless searches on BugGuide, and then when we finally arrive at the answer, it seems so obvious.