Subject: Nectaring Fly?
Location: Sussex County, NJ
August 5, 2017 5:50 am
Found this on my rudbeckia yesterday. It appears to be some sort of fly, but I’m having a hard time figuring out what Family? It has the general look of a crane fly, but is much smaller than any crane flies I’ve seen, only maybe 1/3 inch. Also, I’ve never seen a proboscis on a crane fly. Am attaching dorsal and ventral views and hope you can shed some light on the identity.
One other note, I was able to gently nudge it with my finger without it making any effort to get away from me – very intent on the flower. When it finally moved, it simply flew about a foot to another flower.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco
Thanks for resending the images. We believe we have identified your Crane Fly as a member of the family Limoniidae, the Limoniid Crane Flies. Our first clue was this image on BugGuide of a Crane Fly in the genus Limonia, though unlike your individual, the wings are spotted. BugGuide does say this of the subgenus Geranomyia: “One of three groups of crane flies, all in Limoniidae, that have long mouthparts for feeding on flowers. Often found bobbing up and down while perched.” This BugGuide image of Toxorhina magna looks like an exact match to us, and both this individual and your individual have ovipositors, indicating they are female.
Thanks so much, Daniel! And glad to know that I was on the right track with crane fly. I’m accustomed to seeing crane flies that are much larger than this, which is what was throwing me. And thanks for pointing out the ovipositor – I can see it clearly now that I know what I’m looking for.