Currently viewing the category: "Flies"

Subject: Is this related to a dragonfly?
Location: Dripping Springs, TX
August 23, 2015 9:18 pm
I live in the hill country of South Texas (west of Austin) and saw this while watching my humming birds on the back porch. At first I thought it was some sort of a dragon fly but after a closer look realized it wasn’t but have never seen something like this especially with the fuzzy tail.
Signature: Diana

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dear Diana,
This Robber Fly in the family Asilidae is not even closely related to Dragonflies, but they are both predators that catch prey on the wing, which may have resulted in some evolutionary similarities.  We believe your individual is in the genus
Efferia, perhaps in the Albibarbis group which is pictured on BugGuide.  There are many nice images of Robber Flies from the genus Efferia on Greg Lasley Nature Photography.

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Subject: Black Moth?
Location: Bay Area, California
August 20, 2015 10:57 am
Just found this moth like creature in my garden this morning (8/19/15) in Fremont, California, zip code 94536. What is it?
Signature: Elizabeth Cerutti

Female Western Horse Fly

Female Western Horse Fly

Wow Elizabeth,
This is one gorgeous image of a female Western Horse Fly,
Tabanus punctifer, who can be easily distinguished from her sexually dimorphic mate by the spacing between her eyes and the color and pattern of the white hair on her thorax.  According to BugGuide:
“From Middlekauff & Lane:
Female: A large, dark-colored horse fly. Easily recognized by the following characteristics: mesonotum covered with creamy hair over a dark reddish background: remainder of thorax dark brown, with concolorous hair: wings brown, paler posteriorly, the cross-veins and furcation distinctly margined with brown; legs black, except basal third of fore tibiae, which are creamy white with long white hair; abdomen black.
Male: Color as in female except that the white of the mesothorax is confined to a lateral band and the outer margin of the scutellum.”
The pastel colors of the succulent plant act as a perfect background for this striking fly.  Female Horse Flies are blood suckers that feed on warm blooded animals, and many species are not at all opposed to sucking human blood.

Wow, thanks for such a quick, complete and descriptive answer!  I had no idea it was in the fly family, and a dreaded horse fly at that. When I was growing up on Long Island, NY, we used to try and dodge horse flies in the swimming pool in the summer.  They were so smart, they used to hover right above and wait for us to surface for air.  Hell of a welt.  This one today in the garden was easily an inch long.
Thank you, again.
Best regards,
Elizabeth

When we were putting together our response for you, we searched our archives for an image of a male Western Horse Fly to no avail.  Should you happen to see one, please take an image and send it to us.  Here is a BugGuide image of a male Western Horse Fly.

Subject: Curious what this is…
Location: Kansas City, MO
August 14, 2015 2:34 pm
Dear Sir,
Was working on a log pole bed with my son in our driveway when I spotted this land on our railing. Any idea what this is? I appreciate your help because I can’t even begin to conceive of a description for the Internet that would yield the answer .
Signature: Thanks, William

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Dear William,
Several predatory Robber Flies have marvelous and descriptive common names and your individual has one of the best.  It is a Red Footed Cannibalfly and your images beautifully document the red feet.

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Thank you Daniel. Apparently it was “two for one day” that day, because later the same day my wife and I also had our first encounter in the garage with an insect that scared the hell out of us. So I was able to look that one up, and at first I thought it was a Gasteruption Jaculator, but when I read the range for that animal is Europe only, I kept looking and found the Giant Ichneumon on your site. So after learning she’s harmless to humans, I went back in the garage and got her on my hand, and took her out to an old dead stump on our front drive that I’m saving for some woodwork. She probably found plenty of food in there for her young!
When the Red Footed Cannibalfly happen along, I went right back to your website, but I had to ask because I didn’t even know how to begin describing that one in writing.
Thanks again,
Wm

Subject: guarding my house today
Location: Oshawa, Ontario
August 12, 2015 1:57 pm
Dearest bugman,
Thanks to you, I have become more of a friend to bugs.
This afternoon, there is a very giant fly with spotted wings guarding the back door to my house. She (I think it’s a she) is sitting right on the keyhole! Thankfully, I come in through the garage…I have a feeling it is a kind of horse fly but have never actually seen one. I’ve never seen a fly this big or one with markings on its wings. We are in Oshawa, Ontario and the day is sunny and windy but she would be out of the sun and wind where she is sitting right now. Didn’t even care that I took pictures and opened the door twice…I was hoping to see a luna moth one day and not so much this guy…
be well and keep up the awesome work!
Signature: Robin

Tiger Bee Fly

Tiger Bee Fly

Dear Robin,
Thank you so much for your kind compliments.  This distinctive fly is a Tiger Bee Fly, a species that parasitizes Carpenter Bees.  Unlike female Horse Flies that might bite humans, this Tiger Bee Fly poses no threat to you or your pets.

Dearest Daniel,
Thank you so much for your response and for enlightening me about my visitor. I am honoured to be hearing from the bugman himself! I actually have your book!
Passion is what makes life worth living and yours is obvious. To give of yourself and your time as you have for so many years is a most incredible testament to passion. Thank you for sharing that as you have and for teaching so many of us so very much.
Stay passionate,
Robin
ps – bibitte is the French word for bug – I’ve been driving a vw bug for 15 years…

I’m blushing.

Subject: Flying striped bodied moth?
Location: Central KY
August 12, 2015 1:53 pm
A big bug was caught in an old web across our glass door. We watched all day as it struggled to get free. I took pictures so I could look it up. We are new to central KY, USA and I have never seen this bug in my life (I come from northern IN).
The wings were clear except for black lines. The body was large, round and striped a yellow and dark brown. A furry head topped it off with a hose type nose and large ovalish eyes. It was quite a specimen!
P.S. It eventually freed itself.
Signature: V

Horse Fly

Horse Fly

Dear V,
One can tell by the spacing between the eyes that this Horse Fly is a female.  Female Horse Flies bite and suck blood from vertebrates, especially mammals, while male Horse Flies do not bite and feed on nectar from flowers.  Based on matching images on BugGuide, we believe we have correctly identified your Horse Fly as
Tabanus sulcifrons.

Horse Fly

Horse Fly

Wow! Thank you for taking the time to reply!
I had the feeling it was a biting type of insect and told my son so.
I am so grateful for your letter!
Bless you,
V

Subject: STILETTO FLY?
Location: Ouachita Mountains, Ark.
August 10, 2015 6:50 pm
Hi! Are these Stiletto Flies? Photographed on a small bridge overlooking a creek in Fannie, Arkansas. Only one photo of them mating before they left. Summer, Aug. 10th. Is this a common variety?
Signature: Bill Burton

Mating Flies

Mating Bee Flies

Dear Bill,
Though they resemble Stiletto Flies, we cannot find a matching image on BugGuide.  Among the most noticeable diagnostic features for us are the posterior edge of the eye having an unusual concave feature and the spacing between the eyes being almost equal between the male and the female.  We have requested assistance from Eric Eaton and we hope he can provide an identification soon.

Eric Eaton Identifies mating Bee Flies
Daniel:
I do recognize these as bee flies, family Bombyliidae.  I don’t recognize the genus offhand.  Herschel Raney’s “Random Acts of Nature” website might have pages devoted to bee flies of Arkansas.  I know he has lots on Arkansas *robber* flies…..
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

Ed. Note:  We scanned the images on Random Natural Acts and BugGuide, but we could not conclusively identify these mating Bee Flies.  Assistance from our readership is always welcomed.