Fruit Fly, possibly Bubble Gall Tephritid or closely related species.

Subject: Fly identification
Location: Colorado
March 21, 2014 6:51 pm
I have a couple of flies that I haven’t been able to identify.
The first I thought would be easy, however, I’m coming up empty! I’ve Googled lots of phrases, and gone through the photos on here (I think I hit them all), but didn’t see any matches. This one was in late June of 2010 in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO.
The second and third are of the same insect. I believe is a picture-wing fly, but it could also be a fruit fly, as it’s a very tiny insect. This one was in late May of 2012 in Red Rocks in Morrison, CO.
Thank you so much for your help! (Also, your book is fabulous!)
Signature: Amy

Fruit Fly:  possibly Aciurina trixa
Fruit Fly: possibly Aciurina trixa

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the compliment and we are happy to hear you enjoyed The Curious World of Bugs.  We believe your second fly is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, not a Picture Winged Fly.  The closest match we were able to locate on BugGuide is the Bubble Gall Tephritid,
Aciurina trixa, though the pattern on the wings of the single individual posted to BugGuide is a bit different.  The photographer did make this note regarding an unpictured species in the same genus:  “This keyed to Aciurina bigeloviae in the excellent 1993 reference by Foote, Blanc, and Norrbom(1), and everything fit well (e.g. descriptions, wing diagram, location, host plant). Foote et al. mentioned that two other species had been synonymized with A. bigeloviae by Styeyskal in 1984, and that this was the most widespread and commonly encountered species of all the Chrysothamnus-feeding Aciurina…as well as the most variable. (In fact, the detailed synonymy and references for A. bigeloviae take up an entire page in their book!).”  So, we believe we have the genus correct, but the species remains questionable.  Your individual is a female based on the presence of the ovipositor.

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly


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