What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Huge “fly” in Peru
Location: Peru
February 15, 2014 8:17 am
My husband took this picture of an insect in the rain forest of Peru. It is about 3 inches from eye to the end of it’s “stinger-like” tail. I am having a hard time finding the right direction to identify it. He is enjoying the huge variety of insects he is seeing down there on his business trip!
Signature: Wendy

Giant Timber Fly

Timber Fly

Hi Wendy,
This is only the second time we have received an image of a Giant Wood Fly or Timber Fly in the family Pantophthalmidae, genus
Pantophthalmus.  We originally misidentified it as a Horse Fly.  It is our understanding that this is the bulkiest fly in the world, and you can see an image on Diptera Info held in a human hand for size comparison.  More information can be found on Bug Spotlight of the UC Riverside Department of Entomology.

Thanks you so much for your fast response! I am forwarding that to him down there and tell him to keep snapping the pictures. Next time he wants to bring a better camera!
I attached a silkmoth and a giant long horned beetle picture, for your interest.
Thanks again Daniel,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Peru

7 Responses to Timber Fly

  1. aussietrev says:

    Bulky! That’s not bulky. THIS is bulky
    About 2″ long and as thick as a woman’s pinky finger, now that’s bulky!

    • bugman says:

      Thanks Trevor,
      The first time we posted an image of a Giant Yellow Robber Fly, Blepharotes coriarius, we thought it might have been in the Timber Fly family. We also have several images of the Giant Yellow Robber Fly with car keys for scale. Both the Australian Giant Yellow Robber Fly and the Timber Fly are among the largest flies in the world. An earlier photo of a Timber Fly that we posted uses an index finger as scale, and though the sex of the person who supplied the finger is not provided, by our reckoning, the index finger is larger than the pinkie finger.

      • aussietrev says:

        Sorry if you took me too seriously guys, I was doing the Crocodile Dundee thing, that’s not a knife! Aussie sense of humour and all. Although I do think our guy would give the timber fly a serious run for its money and probably have it for a snack. 🙂

        • bugman says:

          Our own sense of humor often can be quite dry, and there were no feelings of offense on our part. We agree that if these two behemoths of the Dipteran world from different hemispheres were ever brought together, the Giant Yellow Robber Fly from Australia would win because it it a predator while the Timber Fly, though potentially frightening in appearance, is actually perfectly harmless.

  2. Curious Girl says:

    This is definitely a female, but as such I don’t think she stings, does she?

    My understanding is these big Timber Flies do not even feed as adults.

    • bugman says:

      Yes, the ovipositor indicates this is a female Timber Fly. They do not sting. The Bug Spotlight link we provided indicates: “In fact, the adults don’t feed at all, spending most of their lives as large grubs boring in trees, especially in roots, so the adult stage is only a very brief portion of the life cycle, similar to cicadas.”

  3. Juan Contreras says:

    Encontré una mosca igual, pero no logro saber cuál es el nombre exacto de este ejemplar. No encuentro cómo anexar la imagen.

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