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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Kleptoparasitic flies
Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:37 AM
Hi guys,
I got this photo of tiny flies trying to get to the ant captured by this jumping spider. Apparently they are Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) some of which are kleptoparasitic of spiders, some specialising in ant snacks such as this one. The spider is a female Salticid, Zenodorus orbiculatus known locally as ant hunters. She is about 7mm long so you can see how tiny those flies are.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Hi Trevor,
Though you have a long history of providing our site with awesome images of Australian fauna, this image is, in our opinion, one of the most fascinating. The fact that you captured this nuanced example of Kleptoparasitism is phenomenal. One animal stealing food or prey from another is common in the animal kingdom, and it is easily observed in our own brand new aquarium, but to photograph these minuscule creatures evolutionarily adapted to this activity is nothing short of fantastic. These Freeloader Flies, as they are called on one website, in the family Milichiidae, are described by Irina Brake on the Introduction to Milichiidae website: “Thu, 2009-02-12 13:48 — Irina Brake
The Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) are small, mostly black acalyptrate flies. The family contains about 240 described species in 19 genera and is worldwide in distribution.
The behavior of several species of Milichiidae is very specialized. For example, in some species the adults are myrmecophilous (= ant-loving), whilst in some others they are kleptoparasitic, feeding on the prey of spiders or predaceous insects.
The habitats of Milichiidae are diverse. Adults can be collected in open landscapes, such as steppes or meadows, in wadis, at the edges of forests, inside forests, in the forest canopy, in stables or houses, or even in caves. However, they do not seem to be attracted to coastal habitats or to other places near water.
The Milichiidae are divided into three subfamilies, Madizinae, Milichiinae, and Phyllomyzinae.
Common names
Common names are only rarely cited for Milichiidae and seem to be more of an invention of the author than a commonly used name. The English term “filth flies”, for example, which is sometimes used for Milichiidae, was introduced by Sabrosky (1959) in the title of a paper about the genus Meoneura , which now belongs to the family Carnidae. Sabrosky probably used the general expression “filth fly” to describe the biology rather than intending the term to be a common name for the family Milichiidae. The term “filth flies” is generally used for several different taxa associated with ‘filth’.
Since people keep stumbling over the name ‘Milichiidae, I herewith introduce a new english common name: “freeloader flies”. The name refers to the biology of Milichiidae. Definitions for ‘freeloader’ are: ‘ someone who takes advantage of the generosity of others’ ( wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn ) or ‘ one who depends on another for support without reciprocating’ ( http://www.answers.com ). ”
BugGuide also has information on the family Milichiidae. The Geocities website has some nice images of the Ant Eater Spider or Ant Hunter Spider, Zenodorus orbiculatus.

Correction: Mon Mar 23, 2009  7:08:13 AM America/Los_Angeles
Dear Daniel,
thanks for alerting me to your photo and citing my webpage. However, I
discussed it with a collegue of mine and we both think that your flies
are Chloropidae, not Milichiidae. Michael von Tschirnhaus is a
Chloropidae specialist and has more experience with actually watching
the live flies than I have. He wrote to me that from the habitus the
flies are certainly Chloropidae. There are several species who are
kleptoparasitic on spiders. He doesn’t know all Australian genera, so he
can’t tell you which genus it is. Many species of different genera
develop in spider cocons and stay with the spider for a longer period of
time. They can wait endless in the spider net.
Best wishes,
Irina

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this Queensland Moth?
Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 9:44 PM
Hey there bugman!
I found this dude in the collar of one of my tee shirts that I had on the line today, and he gave me a little freight since I’ve not seen a moth as big as he is before. However, after my initial shock I decided to get him identified by you. After he’d had enough of the photo shoot he took off, possibly to find another collar to sleep in. He was about the size of my thumb and very fuzzy.
thanks bugman
Pseudo
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

Dear Pseudo,
We quickly located your moth on the Brisbane Insects Website and it is a Convolvulvus Hawk Moth, Agrius convolvuli.  We located much information on the species, including another website that indicates has a large range and migrates freely in Europe, Asia and Africa as well as Australia.  More information and photos can be found on the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website.

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Strike the pose, amazing moth.
Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 6:42 PM
Hi guys,
Found this stunning moth and was fortunate enough to have Donald Hobern, an entomologist from CSIRO provide the ID of Eporectis tephropis (Noctuidae: Catocalinae. I could imagine that if it wasn’t against the green surronds that it would look much like a dead leaf. There are no images of this one on the web at the moment but will supply it to Australian Moths Online as well
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Owlet Moth:  Eporectis tephropis

Owlet Moth: Eporectis tephropis

Hi Trevor,
As always, your images and contributions to our website are a treasure.  We can only wonder when you will begin your own site.  Thanks for this stunning Owlet Moth image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Stunning Assassin
Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 8:49 PM
Found this one today. Only small so hopefully it is not just an early instar of something plain or horrible, it would be a shame to see it grow out of this stunning colour scheme. Hope you like it.
aussitrev
Queensland, A

Orange Black Stink Bug

Orange Black Stink Bug

Hi Trevor,
While we agree that your insect is stunning, we disagree that it is an Assassin Bug.  It is actually an Orange Black Stink Bug, Novatilla virgata, and we identified it on the Brisbane Insect Website.  This is an adult insect as it is winged, and its coloration will not change.

Orange Black Stink Bug

Orange Black Stink Bug

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Robber eats bee foodchain
Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 11:34 PM
Hi guys,
This robberfly has caught itself a native bee. It is dull and windy here today with a cyclone off the coast so I took the flash with me and was quite pleased with the result. Hope you like it too.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Robber Fly eats Bee

Robber Fly eats Bee

Hi Trevor,
Thanks for sending us a photo demonstrating your new technique. It looks like a studio portrait. We are a bit behind in our posting since we have embarked upon fulfilling a longtime desire to establish a home aquarium. This endeavor has occupied much of our free time since the cabinet needs to be stained and sealed before we can even begin to stock the aquarium with freshwater Amazon species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Green Beetle with “eye brow” like antennae
Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 11:34 PM
While typing a research paper “Do big buttresses break with passing wind” in the Australian jungle within the Atherton Table lands, this “Groucho Marx” bug flew onto my keyboard and despite much prodding wouldn’t leave me alone. Could you give me a less affectionate name to call it?
Lonely Dinosaur
Atherton Table lands, NE Australia

Feather Horned Longicorn

Feather Horned Longicorn

Dear Lonely Dinosaur,
This is the second submission of this spectacular beetle we have received since Christmas. This is a Feather Horned Longicorn Beetle, Piesarthrius marginellus, indeed a longhorned beetle native to Australia. You can find photos online on the Up Close and Spineless website as well as at http://www.cerambycoidea.com/foto.asp?Id=830.

Feather Horned Longicorn

Feather Horned Longicorn


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination