What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: wasp? bee? hornet?
Location: Whitewater, California
June 7, 2016 10:02 am
My kids and I normally play bee rescue in our pool. We live just outside Palm Springs, CA so there is not much water just laying about so bees love our pool, sadly a lot of them hit the water and almost drown so we will fish them out and let them dry off before they decide to go on their way.
However, the other day after lunch we found this poor thing in the pool, we didn’t get to it in time since we were in the house.
Although, I am a bit nervous as to what it is because it was so much bigger! It was about 1 1/2 -2 inches long!! Huge compared to our little bees. Can you tell me if this one is safe to save and what it is? I have looked through your site and can’t find anything like it.
Thank you so much for your help!!
Signature: Cristena

Mydas Fly

Mydas Fly genus Opomydas

Dear Christena,
None of the above.  This is a Mydas Fly in the family Mydidae, but it does not look like any species we have seen.  We cannot even locate a conclusive match on BugGuide,
but our best guess is that it is in the genus Nemomydas like this unidentified species on BugGuide or this Nemomydas venosus also pictured on BugGuide.  Neither image looks exact, but they are close enough for us to guess your individual is closely related.  According to BugGuide, Mydas Flies are:  “Large flies, often wasp mimics. Have prominent, clubbed antennae and distinctive wing venation” and to the best of our knowledge, they are perfectly harmless.  As an aside, it is not possible to make out the head of the Mydas Fly in your image as it is partially obscured by the wings and body of a smaller fly.

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

5 Responses to Mydas Fly Drowns in Pool

  1. Georgeanne Wilcox says:

    I had a similar species in my garden this afternoon (SE IN). It had a fatter abdomen and was flying around marigolds. It had been in a hibiscus plant that had caterpillars all over it and I disturbed it when I was moving the leaves. It had the same kind of wings but a more distinct and varied pattern of black, yellow and orange striping. It flew off before I could run inside and get my camera.

  2. A very special, and beautiful, fly!! And, though a large wasp mimic…totally harmless to humans!

    The mydas fly here is definitely in the genus Opomydas, and my best shot would be O. limbatus…which has a record from Whitewater Canyon (at ~1000′ elevation) on June 26, 1976.

    This species is not yet represented on BugGuide, and would be a wonderful addition! It would be great if Christina would register on BugGuide (super-easy to do at http://bugguide.net/user/register ) and then post this image. Then BugGuide experts could work give a definitive ID it, and leave comments under Christina’s BugGuide post documenting the process.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks so much for the identification. We don’t know if Christina will log onto this posting again, but hopefully she will take your advice.

  3. Oops…realized I misspelled Christena’s name after I made posting my previous comment. (My apologies to you, Christena, if you read this!)

    I do hope Cristena sees my comments here (e.g. if, per chance, comments generate an email alert to the person originally posting?) It turns out there are a number of interesting members of Mydidae that range in the Whitewater/Palm Springs area, and she may find more as she and her children are in the habit of rescuing interesting bugs from her pool 🙂 So it would be good for them to know that mydids (of all kinds) are harmless to humans, and thus “safe to save”.

    And if the opportunity arises, good diagnostic photos would include details of the hind legs; wing venation; and a profile of the head showing antennae and mouthparts as clearly as possible.

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