Cactus Fly from Singapore

Subject: Small Insect, Red Eyes
Location: Singapore
February 2, 2013 10:37 pm
Hi there, I found this very minute bug roaming around the rotting stump of a fallen tree. This one is quite lighter in color than the other bugs similar to it. It has those pair of big red eyes. I’m not sure what this is really as it does not seem to be a fly (or could be)? Anyway, hope you guys could identify this one as closely as possible. Oh, sometimes it would wave its two front legs in a movement as if cleaning some sticky debris off its limbs.
Signature: Giovanni

Cactus Fly

Hi Giovanni,
This is in fact a Fly in the family Neriidae which are commonly called Cactus Flies because the “larvae are decomposers of cactus” according to BugGuide.  It might be a Banana Stalk Fly,
Telostylinus lineolatus.  The family is sometimes referred to as Stilt Legged Flies as well, though that name can also refer to the members of the closely related family Micropezidae.  According to the Evolutionary Biology Lab:  “Neriidae is a relatively small family of true flies (Diptera) with long, stilt-like legs. Most species are found in the tropics. Neriids have very interesting behaviours, and many species are strikingly sexually dimorphic, with males having much longer legs, heads and/or antennae than females. Like piophilid flies, neriid larvae have the ability to leap during the stage just before pupation when they migrate from the larval feeding substrate to the pupation site. Very little research has been done on this interesting group of flies.”

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