Flying Ant or Fly
September 23, 2009
This little guy hangs around my computer and other places on my desk “washing his hands and feet”, “scratching his head” and staring at me all day long. He is not timid of me at all. I can put my finger in front of him and he will walk up onto it. He seems to be content sitting still for long periods of time, then abruptly he will scatter. He is very quick when he wants to be. He didn’t seem to like me taking his picture either. I have also seen him riding inside my truck on the rearview mirror when I go on road trips. What is he and what does he want?
Weirded Out In Florida
Panama City Beach, FL.. Northwest Florida Panhandle
Dear Weirded Out,
WE believe this is a species of Long Legged Fly in the family Dolichopodidae, but sadly, we have been unable to find a species match on BugGuide. Long Legged Flies are predatory species that prey on small insects, so they are beneficial and will not harm you.
Eric Eaton Responds
No trouble, but I’m answering from a friend’s computer….The fly is a “stilt-legged fly,” family Micropezidae. Easy to get them confused with longlegged flies, family Dolichopodidae.
BugGuide indicates this of Stilt Legged Flies: “Odd little flies, known for their displaying (?) behavior of walking around and lifting their prominently marked front legs. Abdomen attached to thorax by ‘wasp-waist’. Likely ant or wasp mimics. The posture of the forelegs may imitate ant and/or wasp antennae and provide them with some protection from predators.” Also, we believe it looks like it might be Compsobata univitta.
Update: May 18, 2014
Thanks to a new comment, we know that this is Grallipeza nebulosa, a Stilt Legged Fly that is pictured on BugGuide.