Mating March Flies in New Zealand

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).
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.

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