What’s this fly? It looks mean
Location: Janesville, IA
August 12, 2011 12:20 pm
This fly was outside on my porch. I initially took a series of pictures and it was just the fly. When I returned, it looked like it had caught a house fly and was consuming it. It’s big, about an inch long. It looks like a cross between a fly and a cricket. I really need to buy an insect book.
Signature: Jill Lockey

Robber Fly eats House Fly

Hi Jill,
The predator in your photo is a Robber Fly.  Robber Flies are adept at capturing prey on the wing.  If you want an excellent identification guide, consider Eric Eaton’s Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, and Daniel is very proud of his first book, a pop culture tome on insects entitled The Curious World of Bugs.  We can’t believe we don’t have a House Fly category, and now is an excellent time to remedy that.

Thanks for the ID and the suggestions on bug books. I will check those out.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unidentified black fly in Herndon, VA.
Location: Herndon (4 miles from Dulles Airport), Virginia
August 12, 2011 4:55 pm
Hi Bugman,
We found this very cool all-black fly in the backyard yesterday just before dusk (8pm ish EST).
The body is all black, no color or shimmer anywhere not even in the wings or eyes. 2 large compound eyes – black. 2 wings are solid black in color and non-transparent. They attach at the shoulders either side of a flat black plate behind the head and close in a very wide v-shape.
Frontal abdomen shows distinct horizontal bands, black and hairless.
Dorsal abdomen is covered in black hair. Abdomen has rounded end but no ovipositor or other abdominal structure that I can see.
6 regualar fly legs, black, (did I mentions he is all black?)and two short splayed antennae at very top of head originating between eyes.
Last thing, couldn’t identify mouth parts but he has a very large depending proboscis – also black. He is more than 1in in length with wings longer. In the pics he (she?) is inside a drinking glass with an adult hand holding it for scale. Hope that helps. I hope you don’t have any questions because we released him after the photoshoot but we would truly love to know what kind of beastie he is. (I have more pics if you need them.) Many thanks in advance.
Signature: Anna & Aoife

Black Horse Fly

Hi Anna and Aoife,
Our editorial staff spent considerable time during our formative years in nearby Reston.  This is a Black Horse Fly,
Tabanus atratus, a species that depends upon an aquatic environment for the development of the larva, and the presence of livestock as a food source for the blood sucking female adults.  It is possible to tell the sexes apart by viewing the eyes, which alas, your photos do not provide the necessary details for that distinction.  The large eyes of the male are closer together, and they touch one another.  In the female, there is a space between the eyes.  See BugGuide for additional photos.

Mr Marlos – fabulous to get a reply from you, thank you.
Aoife is my 12yr old daughter who found and captured the fly.  She will be thrilled to receive your response.
So it’s a Black Horse Fly. It’s so big. I had no idea they could get that big.
As ex-Restonites you will know that there’s plenty of local aquatic environment to grow babies but not so much livestock any more. My dog regularly comes in with big bug bites on his hairless belly so perhaps we are doing our part for the species after all.
My apologies for the lack of eye-detail. It was coming on dusk and rather than hunt for the camera we took hasty shots with a cell phone. I cannot say for sure if the eyes were touching but we were happy to find the bug and even happier to know what it is. There are such marvellous creatures in your own back yard in this country. Long may they thrill us and thank you again for doing what you do.
Best regards from myself and my larvae.
Anna, Aoife, Jess & Sarah.

crazy creature?
Location: ohio, united states
August 12, 2011 9:12 am
can you tell me what kind of creature this is? we found it at work the other day, and maybe what it eats?? thanks.
Signature: christy

Hickory Horned Devil

Hi Christy,
We thought this might be an earlier instar of a Hickory Horned Devil, but according to BugGuide, it is a chocolate brown form of the typically green giant caterpillar.  We still believe your caterpillar will continue to grow and eventually turn green.  BugGuide states:  “Larvae feed on leaves of ash, burning bush, butternut, cotton, gum, hickory, lilac, pecan, persimmon, sumac, sycamore, and walnut.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

flylike on butterfly bush
Location: new jersey
August 12, 2011 4:12 pm
can you please id ?
Signature: susan

Bee Fly

Hi Susan,
This is a Bee Fly, and it appears to be a match for the
Exoprosopa fasciata group, however, we cannot find an exact match for the body coloration, though the wing veinage seems to be an exact match.  See BugGuide for the many variations in this group that is characterized by “the wing color along the leading edge.”

unknown bug Location: Bristol, England August 11, 2011 6:47 pm I was riding my bike the other day through the woods and i suddenly seen this bug on the path, so i moved it off the path onto the grass so it didnt get run over by bike riders. i took a picture of it and shown friends and they didnt know what it was either, we was thinking some kind of caterpillar maybe? id really appreciate your help, as i have been looking to find out what this is for some time now. Signature: Ben Vickers

Privet Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Ben, This is a Privet Hawkmoth Caterpillar.  According to the UK Moths website:  “The large caterpillar is even more spectacular than the moth, being bright green with lilac and white stripes along the side, and a curved black ‘horn’ at the rear. It feeds on privet (Ligustrum), lilac (Syringa) and ash (Fraxinus).”

Ed. NOte:  Because of a comment from David Gracer, we have created a Bug Humanitarian Award tag.

Huge, underground, wingless wasp?!
Location: France
August 12, 2011 4:18 am
Dear Bugman,
Could you please help identify this bug? It has only 4(!) legs, no wings and is over 6 cm long. We found it yesterday in France, during daytime on a hot (30C) day.
When we released the bug, it immediately crawled into a small hole in the ground.
Signature: Yorizzz

Mole Cricket

Dear Yorizzz,
This is a Mole Cricket, not a wasp.  We get identification requests for Mole Crickets from many parts of the world other than Europe, including Asia, Australia, Africa and North America.