Subject: Corn Tassel Fly
August 4, 2014 8:58 pm
I have a picture of said insect (That is what we in Indiana call them too…corn fly or corn tassel fly) and would like to contribute to your information.
Signature: Chawn Essary
please use the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site and use Corn Tassel Fly as the subject line.
I have tried 3 times to submit that way and it just keep processing and never finishes? (the little arrow went around so much, I think I got dizzy! LOL)
So, here you go “Bug Man”!!
Thanks for your awesome site!
Though your images are enormous, our email program should have handled 12M worth of attachments. Perhaps your internet connection was slow. Do you generally have problem emailing such large attachments? More that ten years ago, we received an identification request from Illinois with no images that described a Corn-Tossle Fly, and based on the description, we decided it was a Flower Fly, also called a Hover Fly, from the family Syrphidae. The common name Flower Fly refers to their pollinating behavior and the name Hover Fly refers to their ability to fly in place. Your images confirm that identification. Interestingly, we cannot find any other references to that name, but we must confess we only did a quick and superficial search for the term. Flies in the family Syrphidae are highly beneficial. The adults help to pollinate plants and the larvae feed on garden pests including aphids. Alas, we could not locate an exact match to your Corn Tassle Fly on BugGuide, however, we suspect that based on its physical appearance, your individual is in the subfamily Syrphinae, and perhaps you will have better luck navigating BugGuide to a species identification than we had. It is also worth noting that many flies in the family Syrphidae mimic bees or wasps, and since the Hover Flies are perfectly harmless, this affords them some protection. We have greatly enlarged the Hover Fly and cropped tightly in the hope that one of our readers will be able to identify the species, or at least the genus for us.
Update: August 17, 2014
Thanks to Kevin Moran who wrote in identifying the Corn Tassle Fly as Toxomerus politus which we located on BugGuide, though the common name is not indicated. Kevin also provided a link to this pdf http://syrphidae.lifedesks.org/pages/25598/pdf that provides this information: “The larvae of Toxomerus politus (Say, 1823) also known as ‘the corn-feeding syrphid fly’, feed on pollen and sap from the saccharine cells of corn (Zea mays L.) (Marín A.1969; Smith 1974)”