Sunday, 24 August 2014

Some Fun and Unusual Flies... 

In the past few weeks I've encountered a number of fun and unusual, and mostly new to me, flies. This one, found on August 21st along the McIntosh Run in Spryfield, is not a "true fly," that is it's not a Dipteran, but a Mecopteran. An unusual looking creature, this is a male Scorpion Fly, Panorpa mirabilis. It's perfectly harmless, to people anyway, despite its scorpion-like looking "tail" (which are actually the male sex organs terminating in an enlarged genital bulb). Yes, it was looking at me...

This pretty convincing bee- or wasp-mimic is actually a Soldier Fly in the genus Stratiomys. It may be S. laticeps or S. obesa—they look remarkably alike and I'm not completely sure I can hang a name on it with only a few photos as reference. I thought I was familiar with Soldier Flies but my previous experience is with the genus Hermetia and they look nothing like this Stratiomys with its curiously flattened and laterally-ridged abdomen. Photographed at Roaches Pond in Spryfield on August 16th.

This beauty is a very (very) large Tachinid Fly, Belvosia borealis, photographed north of Debert on August 12th. My in-field guesstimate, and based on my photos, knowing the size of the Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba) flowers that it is visiting is that this fly is about 25 mm (about 1") long. Compare the size of this fly to the size of the soldier fly, in the photo above, visiting the same flowers. As might be expected from such a large Tachinid, it is parasitic on large moth caterpillars, especially the larvae of Saturniids and Sphingids (silk and sphinx moths).

Finally, for this installment, one of the less common Bee Flies, Anthrax irroratus, photographed August 16th at Roaches Pond in Spryfield. I say less common in comparison to the local abundance of Bombylius and Villa sp. bee flies. Despite the ominous sounding genus name, this fuzzy black bee fly is a parasite of wood-nesting bees and wasps and has nothing to do with the bacteria, Bacillus anthracis, that causes the disease of the same name. I love those filigree black-mottled wings...

No comments:

Post a comment