Subject: horse fly
Location: Cairns Australia
January 10, 2016 4:11 pm
Hi. Could you please tell me what kind of horse fly this is.
I live in Cairns Australia next to the rainforest I’m used to the smaller black ones but not this..
Unfortunately i had to kill it as it was attacking my two little boys under three years of age!!
Signature: Marc

Hover Fly, we believe

Horse Fly, we realize

Dear Marc,
This is not a Horse Fly, commonly called a March Fly in Australia.  We believe this is a Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae.  Hover Flies mimic stinging bees and wasps for protection, but they are in themselves perfectly harmless.  We have not had any luck determining the species.  We hope that should you encounter additional Hover Flies in the future, you will learn to recognize them and not kill them as they pose no threat to your family.

Many thanks on the info..
I do feel bad exterminating it now but now know for future reference!!!!
Thanks again…

Correction:  Horse Fly is Correct
Dear Marc,
There was an exchange of comments initiated by Christopher that resulted in a determination that this really was a Horse Fly like the one pictured on the Queensland Museum site.

Tagged with →  
Location: Cairns, Australia

8 Responses to Correction: Horse Fly from Australia

  1. This isn’t a hover fly, it’s some form of bee fly (Bombyliidae). Still harmless, though.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for providing this comment. Can you provide any identifying features that resulted in your identification. We cannot find any similar looking Bee Flies from the family Bombyliidae on the Brisbane Insect site.

  2. Okay, I have to retract my identification. I had thought it looked like one of the large bombyliids (like this one), but it turns out we’re both wrong and the original poster is right. It is a horse fly, like the Cydistomyia on this page.

    If you can make it out, the wing venation is often the best way to recognise fly families. Syrphids don’t have as many veins reaching the hind margin of the wing.

  3. Curious Girl says:

    *Not* unnecessary carnage?

    Looked like a soldier fly to me at first. Maybe it’s just the angles?

    • bugman says:

      OK. I should be a bit more forgiving at first when children are involved. Furthermore, there was genuine remorse when it was first incorrectly identified as a Hover Fly. I also did research Soldier Flies prior to incorrectly guessing the Hover Fly.

      • Curious Girl says:

        Maybe there is confusion? At least for me.

        I am saying this is *not* unnecessary carnage which it has been tagged with.

        I kind of feel that it’s been decided I am the UC nazi but if that’s the case I feel misunderstood (I’ve only wanted to help with accuracy on your site). If a bug is killed just because it looks scary (which is subjective and to some all bugs are scary) then it still seems unnecessary to me even if the bug is not native (such as with the Euro hornet which is not different to the Devil’s Coach Horse Rove Beetle or House Centipede). If the bugs are invading the home, or plants especially doing damage or a probable threat to the inhabitants, then it gets trickier (though I fully support integrated pest management IPM). If a bug is biting, then it kind of becomes something that needs to be dealt with though I certainly admire those who do not kill the critter that hurt them (I once was stung by a wasp that somehow ended up in my pocket when I stuck my hand in; I simply opened up my pocket and she flew out happy to be free and I was fine with that as my killing her would have served no purpose even though this was years before I became bug enlightened).

        Anyway, it gets a bit goofy if I need to explain every single thing I write. Obviously I am not clear somehow for some reason (or not reading clearly), but I do not enjoy the necessity of it; so I will leave you be. ):


        • bugman says:

          Thanks Curious Girl,
          We really appreciate your input and world view when you provide comments on WTB? and I have to confess that I do question “What would Curious Girl think?” when attempting to determine the slippery slope of when killing an insect is justified versus it being Unnecessary Carnage. In no way are you considered the “UC nazi” but your comments have often given us pause to think about the tag. This was a tough call originally, and when it was mistaken for a harmless Hover Fly, there was less murkiness. Now that it has been properly identified as a Horse Fly, and we know that female Horse Flies will bite humans if other warm blooded prey is not available, we will remove the Unnecessary Carnage tag. Thanks again for keeping us on our toes.

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