Flying nectar loving bugs
Location:  Sydney, Australia
October 14, 2010 5:58 pm
Two that I photographed yesterday around a flowering bush in Sydney, Australia.
None of my friends can identify either of them and so far I’ve been unable to identify them on-line.
Signature:  Mike Gordon

Possibly a Sawfly

Dear Mike,
We wish your photograph better illustrated the features of the antennae of your second insect, but we believe this may be some species of Sawfly.  Sawflies are in the same insect order as wasps and bees, but they do not sting.  There is one photograph on the Brisbane Insect website that looks quite similar to the individual in your photograph.  We found another page on the Brisbane Insect website containing that photograph that identifies the insect as the Bramble Sawfly,
Philomastix xanthophilus, though the head appears to be different from your individual, though that may be due to the blossom obscuring the details in your photograph.  The Pergidae of the World website has a page on the genus Philomastix that contains this fascinating information:  “Females of Philomastix spp. pierce the leaf from above and place the egg on the underside of the leaf (Macdonald & Ohmart 1993). All species of this genus exhibit maternal care. Females stand near their egg mass and young larvae or near the leaf petiole with the head directed to the stem and when disturbed they shake and create a buzzing sound with their wings (Macdonald & Ohmart 1993, Naumann & Groth 1998). This behaviour lasts until they die. Larvae feed during daylight hours (Macdonald & Ohmart 1993).”  More information on North American Sawflies can be found on BugGuide.

Ed. Note:  Correction
October 22, 2010
New information contained in a newly submitted email with better images leads us to believe this is some species of March Fly in the family Bibionidae.

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