Currently viewing the category: "March Flies and Lovebugs"
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Subject: Bugs around almond trees
Location: 30KM South of Shiraz
April 16, 2013 9:50 am
Hello there,
I have a lot of these black insects around my almond trees in a garden near Shiraz, Iran.
I will be glad if you assist me identify these insects and if they are pest or not.
they look like peach tree borers but they are not.
They appear in early April every year and are present until mid May or end of May.
I can say almost 200 or 300 insects are flying or landing on each tree.
I can provide better images if needed, I will shoot using a professional camera next Friday and send the high quality images for you…
Kind Regards.
H. Razavieh
Signature: Hossein Razavieh

Male March Fly

Male March Fly

Dear Hossein,
These are March Flies in the family Bibionidae, and possibly in the genus
Bibio, and though we have not had any luck identifiying any Iranian species, you can see similar North American species on BugGuide as well as in our archive.  March Flies exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism, and the males have the larger heads with bigger eyes.  We are happy that you submitted a photo of each sex.  We would love to get better photos later in the month.  Please title the subject line March Flies from Iran.  We do not believe they are harming your almond trees.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae live gregariously in the top layers of soil and leaf litter, rotten wood, and dung; adults often found on flowers.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Adults emerge synchronously in huge numbers and often form dense mating aggregations. Males form loose “swarms” and copulate immediately with females as they emerge from the soil. After mating, female bibionines dig a small chamber in the soil with their fossorial fore tibiae, lay eggs, and die within the chamber (Plecia lay eggs on the soil surface). Adults are short-lived (3-7 days).”  BugGuide also states:  “larvae may damage cereal crops, vegetable crops, ornamental plants, nursery stock, grass, and forage crops; adult Bibio and Dilophus may be important pollinators in orchards and are the exclusive pollinators of some species of Orchidaceae and Iridaceae.”  Since they are short lived, they might not be around next week, but we would love to request a photo of a mating pair if possible.  One North American species found in Florida is known as the Love Bug because they are frequently found in flagrante delicto in large numbers.

Female March Fly

Female March Fly

 

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Insect we saw hiking in England
Location: England, Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors
August 8, 2011 12:01 am
We saw these hiking in the moors where there seem to be moisture (standing water or mud) and some present of ferns, but not always. Late July, early August. These insects would fly about us and often in front of us as we walked. They did not appear to want to land on us but were ”curious” or looking for a mate? We saw pairs of these insects often buzzing around each other mid flight for short periods of time. We saw a few on the ground where they seemed to stay motionless for some time. A type of wasp? Thank.
Signature: Travelmarx

St. Mark's Fly

Hi Travelmarx,
This is a male St. Mark’s Fly or Heather Fly in the Bionidae.  Males have much larger heads and larger eyes than females.  You can see all the research we have done on this insect by viewing this old posting from our archives.  Related Flies in the southern U.S. are called Love Bugs because they are often found in the mating position.

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Lovebug
Location: Mid-Missouri
October 26, 2010 12:50 pm
A friend of mine suggested that I submit some of my photos to your site (love the site by the way). I found these a few days ago all over the Amur Honeysuckle berries that line my woods. I believe it to be a Lovebug and they are sure interesting looking creatures. These were the first that I have seen this year
Signature: Nathanael Siders

March Fly

Hi Nathaneal,
This is definitely a March Fly in the family Bibionidae which includes the Love Bugs in the genus
Plecia, but we haven’t the necessary skills to identify the genus or species.  That would require an expert and most likely a physical specimen.  We can say that she is a female because the eyes of the male are much larger.   Presumably, if he could speak, he would inform his mate that they are:  “All the better to see you with, my dear.”  You may see some additional examples of March Flies on BugGuide.

March Fly

Update:  October 2, 2016
In creating a new March Fly posting, we realized that this fall flying species is probably
Bibio longipes based on BugGuide information that it is a fall flying species.

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Black winged, orange bodied flying insect
Location: Downtown Sydney, Australia
October 22, 2010 3:33 am
I can’t find a photo that quite corresponds to this bug. It, and others similar, were apparently supping nectar from the same bush as lots of bees, hover flies and the like.
Seems to have a disproportionally small head. Attached photo shows 6 live views and three post mortem.
Signature: Mike Gordon

March Fly

Hi again Mike,
Upon seeing your new photos, we now believe the letter you sent last week contained a misidentification.  This is not a Sawfly, but rather, we believe, a March Fly in the family Bibionidae.  Unfortunately, the Brisbane Insect Website only contains images of a species that is not your insect.  Female March Flies often have significantly smaller heads and eyes than males.  Some confusion may arise as the name March Fly refers to Horse Flies in Australia.

Unknown March Fly from Australia

The new photos you have sent to us should enable a conclusive identification from an expert, but we are not having much luck finding any matches in our internet searching.  Perhaps one of our readers will provide an identification.

Unknown March Fly from Australia

Thanks, again, Daniel,
Following the lead that you have given me I think that I may have found it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bibio_hortulanus01.jpg
What do you think?
Mike.

Daniel,
Another link: http://www.diptera.info/photogallery.php?photo_id=910
Further defines the bug as female, as your email had suggested.
Mike.

Hello again Mike,
Biblio hortulanus appears to be a European species as indicated on this UK Insect website and it may have been introduced to Australia, or your insect may be a similar looking but distinct Australian species.

Don’t think I’ll worry about that!
Mike.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Flying nectar loving bugs
Location:  Sydney, Australia
October 14, 2010 5:58 pm
Two that I photographed yesterday around a flowering bush in Sydney, Australia.
None of my friends can identify either of them and so far I’ve been unable to identify them on-line.
Signature:  Mike Gordon

Possibly a Sawfly

Dear Mike,
We wish your photograph better illustrated the features of the antennae of your second insect, but we believe this may be some species of Sawfly.  Sawflies are in the same insect order as wasps and bees, but they do not sting.  There is one photograph on the Brisbane Insect website that looks quite similar to the individual in your photograph.  We found another page on the Brisbane Insect website containing that photograph that identifies the insect as the Bramble Sawfly,
Philomastix xanthophilus, though the head appears to be different from your individual, though that may be due to the blossom obscuring the details in your photograph.  The Pergidae of the World website has a page on the genus Philomastix that contains this fascinating information:  “Females of Philomastix spp. pierce the leaf from above and place the egg on the underside of the leaf (Macdonald & Ohmart 1993). All species of this genus exhibit maternal care. Females stand near their egg mass and young larvae or near the leaf petiole with the head directed to the stem and when disturbed they shake and create a buzzing sound with their wings (Macdonald & Ohmart 1993, Naumann & Groth 1998). This behaviour lasts until they die. Larvae feed during daylight hours (Macdonald & Ohmart 1993).”  More information on North American Sawflies can be found on BugGuide.

Ed. Note:  Correction
October 22, 2010
New information contained in a newly submitted email with better images leads us to believe this is some species of March Fly in the family Bibionidae.

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pair through window
November 26, 2009
A pair of bugs, about 1 cm head to tail each, photographed through a window. mating? southern hemisphere spring (november 26).
Greg
Christchurch, New Zealand (43 S)

Mating March Flies in New Zealand

Mating March Flies in New Zealand

Hi Greg,
These are March Flies in the family Bibionidae.  There is a North American species found in Florida and vicinity that are known as Lovebugs because of the vast quantity that fly about “in flagrante delicto” like your couple.  According to an online article we found written by D. Elmo Hardy:  “The family Bibionidae is poorly represented in the New Zealand fauna; only to genera have been recorded to date.  These are represended by six species of Philia and one species of Bibio.  the Bibio is an Australian species, but the Philia species are endemic and known only from New Zealand.”  It would seem appropriate that the name of the genus Philia has its root in Philotes, the Greek spirit of friendship and affection, or alternately, sexual intercourse.  The Brisbane Insect Website has images of mating March Flies that illustrate the large head of the male and the smaller head of the female, which is also apparent in your photograph.  This genus should not be confused with the biting Horse Flies that are called March Flies in Australia because of their appearance for a short time in March.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination