What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Robber Fly?
Location: Watsonville, CA
June 11, 2015 2:33 am
Hey Bugman!
I have been finding large numbers of this mysterious (but beautiful) fly in my front yard… I’ve done a lot of internet research and cannot for the life of me figure it out… Is it a Robber Fly??? I have found them all of my Armenian Basket Flower and Artichoke… Please help! I need to know if it’s a pest or not.
Thanks,
Signature: Matt

Mating Artichoke Flies

Mating Artichoke Flies

Dear Matt,
These are most certainly not Robber Flies.  This is an introduced Artichoke Fly,
Terellia fuscicornis, a species of Fruit Fly.  Your images of a single individual are both females, as evidenced by the long ovipositor, and the image with the three flies include two males that are attempting to mate.  Interestingly, bugGuide only has images of female Artichoke Flies, and they do not provide a common name.  There are many nice images on the Natural History of Orange County site.  As an introduced species, they may pose a threat to cultivated artichokes, but we have also found information that they use Milk Thistle, an introduced pest weed in California, as a host so the jury is still out if they are an agricultural pest or a biological control agent.

Artichoke Fly

Female Artichoke Fly

August 5, 2015
Hey Daniel,
Sorry for the delayed response – I saw and read this e-mail and had to do something else. I forgot to write you back to thank you, but I really was so impressed with your knowledge and how thorough your response was! Thank you so much – very informative. I really appreciate it.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks again,
Matt

Female Artichoke Fly

Female Artichoke Fly

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Watsonville, California

One Response to Mating Artichoke Flies

  1. Curious Girl says:

    GREAT Pictures!

    I have a series of mating Knapweed flies which ended in a bit of tragedy in Portugal. I think the true fruit flies are some of the most interesting and beautiful of the fly family so I am always delighted when I encounter one (even if they can be pests). The wing patterns can be simply amazing.

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