Subject: What type of fly is this?
Geographic location of the bug: Los Angeles, California
Time: 11:28 PM EDT
Can you tell me what type of fly this is? Luckily it stayed on my hand long enough for me to take a somewhat clear image. I found this near my garden in Los Angeles.
How you want your letter signed: Nancy
Were you in Los Angeles in the 1980s? This is a Mediterranean Fruit Fly, the dreaded Med Fly that caused so many millions of dollars to be spent on aerial spraying of malathion with helicopters. We identified your Med Fly thanks to images posted to BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “One of the world’s most destructive fruit pests, and the most economically important fruit fly species. Each infestation detected in FL and CA triggered massive eradication and detection effort. In CA, large numbers of sterile males are released and are not uncommon in some places. A female would be a sign of an infestation, and should be reported immediately. Females have a visible ovipositor on the rear tip of the abdomen and lack the ornamented hairs on the male head.” We do not see an ovipositor and it appears your individual has hairs on the head, so we suspect it is a male. Though it is not identified as a female, this BugGuide image appears to be of a female.