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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Diptera: the true flies — Examples

Families represented below:
Asilidae Bibionidae Bombyliidae Calliphoridae Cecidomyiidae Chironomidae Chyromyidae
Conopidae Culicidae Dolichopodidae Drosophidae Empididae Ephydridae Limoniidae Lonchaeidae
Micropezidae Milichiidae Muscidae Mycetophilidae Neriidae Oestridae Pallopteridae
Pantophthalmidae Pediciidae Platystomatidae Pollenidae Psychodidae Ptychopteridae Rhagionidae
Sarcophagidae Scathophagidae Scatopsidae Sciaridae Sepsidae Stratiomyidae Syrphidae
Tabanidae Tachinidae Tephritidae Tipulidae Trichoceridae Ulidiidae Xylomyidae

Syrphidae, the flower and hover flies

Syrphid Fly (Syrphidae)
Hover fly (no common name beyond that), Palpada mexicana, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ Some syrphid flies in the genus Eristalis look quite similar to this hover fly species in the genus Palpada.
Photographed and identified by: Joyce Salazar. Location: Imperial Beach, California, USA. Date: 2 August, 2017.
Hover fly (Palpada furcata)
Hover fly (no common name beyond that), male, Palpada furcata, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ What a beautiful pattern on the thorax of this hover fly!
Photographed and identified to order by: Mike Bloodsworth. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Mike’s full-size image here. Location: Smith County, Texas, USA. Date: 13 July, 2012.
Hover fly (Palpada furcata)
Hover fly (no common name beyond that), female, Palpada furcata, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ In many flies, including this species of hover fly, the female’s eyes are not quite as large as the male’s. Compare this species with the male in the previous photo.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 15 December, 2017.
Transverse Flower Fly (Eristalis transversa)
Transverse flower fly, Eristalis transversa, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The transverse flower fly has a pair of wide triangular yellow markings followed by three, thin, yellow bands on its abdomen. It also has yellow oval on its scutellum (the rearward section of the thorax).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Gaylord, Michigan, USA. Date: 18 July, 2017.
Hoverfly (Eristalis arbustorum)
Hover fly, sometimes known as a European Drone Fly, Eristalis arbustorum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ One of the features of this species of hover fly is the black marking on its first abdominal segment (the one closest to the “waist”) that looks somewhat like a “Y”. This Hoverfly also has thin white lines between each abdominal segment. Other characteristics of this species of Hoverfly include a white face, and black-and-yellow-banded legs.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 8 April, 2017.
Hoverfly (Eristalis arbustorum)
Hover fly, sometimes known as a European drone fly, female, Eristalis arbustorum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This species of hover fly is very similar in appearance to the closely related species Eristalis hirta, but the latter has a noticeable dark stripe in the center of its face (from below the antennae to the mouth), and the individual in this photo does not have that feature.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 14 September, 2019.
Thomas says, “This one looks somewhat different from my other images that you have on your website. The yellow is only on one segment, the white bands are much more brilliant and the legs have white instead of yellow.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Good eye, Thomas. This species does have variability!”
Hoverfly (Eristalis arbustorum)
Hover fly, sometimes known as a European drone fly, Eristalis arbustorum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This hover fly has a faint white border along the trailing edge of each wing. It also has a separated structure called a scutellum at the rear of its thorax, and the scutellum is often a different color (sometimes only slightly, but sometimes quite noticeably) from the rest of the thorax.
Photographed by: Kevin Mahon. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Grindleford, England, UK. Date: 9 August, 2020.
Hoverfly (Eristalis intricarius)
Hover fly (no common name beyond that), female, Eristalis intricarius, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The photographer at first thought this hover fly was a bee, but then astutely noticed the tiny antennae. Although bees have four wings, and flies have only two, that is just about impossible to see unless its wings are fully extended (and it is not moving!). As in many flies, the female’s eye are set farther apart than the male’s.
Photographed by: Alexandra Rasmussen. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northwest England, UK. Date: 24 April, 2020.
Hover Fly (Eristalis spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Eristalis, possibly Eristalis pertinax, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This is one of numerous hover flies that look similar to bees. A good way to distinguish flies from bees is to look at the antennae. As a rule, bees have elbowed antennae (so they have a sharp bend in them), while flies have short antennae that often are extremely thin and look like little hairs, as shown in the close-up photo here.
Photographed and identified to order by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 16 March, 2018.
Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)
Tapered drone fly, likely Eristalis pertinax, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
Photographed by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 17 September, 2017.
Bryan took this shot in his garden.
Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)
Tapered drone fly, likely Eristalis pertinax, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The tapered drone fly has a dark brown abdomen with two yellow patches, each of which is wide at the side and tapered toward the middle. The patches are visible in the left photo. It also has hairs on its eyes, which can be seen in the right photo.
Photographed and identified to order by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 16 March, 2018.
Bryan says, “Apart from the two yellow bits each side at top of abdomen, other bands seem to be subdued black and grey rings.”
Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)
Tapered drone fly, female, Eristalis pertinax, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 11 March, 2019.
Add your photo here!
Hoverfly (Eristalinus arvorum)
Spotted-eye syrphid fly, Eristalinus arvorum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This spotted-eye syrphid fly lives up to its name with those big, brown-spotted, light green eyes. The vertical striping on the thorax and horizontal banding on the abdomen are also striking features of this fly.
Photographed by: Melissa Cervantes. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Central Luzon Philippines. Date: 3 October, 2020.
Hoverfly (Eristalinus arvorum)
Syrphid fly, possibly a spotted-eye syrphid fly, Eristalinus arvorum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The spotted-eye syrphid fly has a huge distribution: from Hawaii all the way to India and down to Australia. The banding on the abdomen can vary quite a bit between individuals with some having wider dark bands (as seen here) and others with thin dark bands and a dark stripe down the center of hte abdomen.
Photographed by: Roshan Pillai. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mumbai, India. Date: 25 January, 2018.
Roshan describes this “a weird-looking fly idling on tulsi leaf,” and adds, “Looks like a big cousin of housefly to me. Must have been 1cm long.”
Stripe-Eyed Flower Fly (Eristalinus taeniopa)
Stripe-eyed flower fly, Eristalinus taeniopa, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The stripe-eyed flower fly is sometimes called a band-eyed drone fly, both referring to those attention-grabbing eyes. Originally from southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, this species was first spotted in Orange County, California in 2006. This photo was taken nearby in San Bernardino County, California.
Photographed and identified to order by: Steet Monk. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ontario, California, USA. Date: 11 July, 2021.
Steet says, “As you can see, it was like staring me down or taunting me to swat it with a rolled up paper. I didn’t do it because I was afraid it would take it away from me and hit me with it, LOL.”
Hornet Mimic Hover Fly (Volucella zonaria)
Hover Fly in the genus Volucella, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ Two similar-appearing species in this genus are the hornet mimic hover fly (Volucella zonaria) and lesser hornet hover fly (Volucella inanis), which is the smaller of the two.
Photographed by: Maggie Brice. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Portsmouth, England, UK. Date: 31 July, 2019.
Hornet Mimic Hover Fly (Volucella zonaria)
Hornet mimic hover fly, Volucella zonaria, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The size of the hornet mimic hover fly can be up to 25mm (an inch) long. That plus the pretty red-brown color on its thorax and striping on its abdomen help to distinguish this hover fly.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 26 July, 2019.
Hornet Mimic Hover Fly (Volucella zonaria)
Hornet Mimic Hover Fly, Volucella zonaria, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□The photographer took this photo just an hour before taking the next photo. Both show off the striped yellow abdomen of the hornet mimic hover fly, and both were about 18mm (0.7 inches) in length. It is sometimes called a Belted Hoverfly.
Photographed and identified by: Clive Mountney. Location: Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire, England, UK. Date: 2 August, 2019.
Hornet Mimic Hover Fly (Volucella zonaria)
Hornet mimic hover fly, Volucella zonaria, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□The hornet mimic hover fly has a slight darkening of its wings toward the trailing edge.
Photographed and identified by: Clive Mountney. Location: Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire, England, UK. Date: 2 August, 2019.
Hornet Mimic Hover Fly (Volucella zonaria)
Hornet mimic hover fly, Volucella zonaria, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This hornet mimic hover fly is able to enter and lay its eggs inside hornet and wasps nests.
Photographed by: Barbara Jones. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Warwick, Warwickshire, UK. Date: 8 July, 2019.
Barbara says, “I found this in my conservatory.”
Add your photo here! Lesser Hornet Hover Fly (Volucella inanis)
Lesser hornet hover fly, Volucella inanis, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ Look closely at this lesser hornet hover fly to see the yellow abdomen with its black bands. Also take note of its head: This species has an unusual, elongate and diamond-shaped “face.” If you’re a Star Wars buff, its face just may remind you of the fictional character called a Garindan :-) The adult Lesser Hornet Hoverfly dines on flower nectar. Females lay their eggs in a wasp/hornet nest, and the larvae continue to live and develop there.
□ The extra flap on the wing is called an alula. It is part of the wing, and is hinged. It is especially evident in the Hover Fly family (seen in the photo at right), where it can comprise 10 percent of the entire wing area. The flies adjust the alula to help them fly forward or angle to another direction more quickly, according to researchers.
Photographed by: Michael Meegan. Identified by: Dr. Christian Kehlmaier of the Dresden Museum of Zoology in Berlin, Germany. Thank you, Dr. Kehlmaier! Location: Berlin, Germany. Date: 5 June, 2018.
Pellucid Fly (Volucella pellucens)
Pellucid fly, Volucella pellucens, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ It looks as if the print on this cloth may have confused this pellucid fly — it certainly has the same bee-like appearance as the print!
Photographed and identified to order by: Chris Parry. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Powis Castle (Castell Powys), Welshpool, UK. Date: 17 July, 2019.
Chris says, “Found this fella checking out a bee bag hanging in a porch.”
Pellucid Fly (Volucella pellucens)
Pellucid fly, Volucella pellucens, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The pellucid fly looks quite similar to a blotched wing hover fly (Leucozona lucorum). Both have the white blotches on the abdomen and black stripe on each wing. The blotched wing hover fly, however, has a slightly different pattern of veins on its wings, and in the light, has noticeably orange-red hairs covering its thorax. The see the blotched wing hover fly, click here (naturespot.org.uk).
Photographed by: Kate Holder. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Oxford, England, UK. Date: 6 July, 2021.
Yellow Jacket Hoverfly (Milesia virginiensis)
Yellow jacket hover fly, Milesia virginiensis, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ At first glance, this yellow jacket hover fly really does look like a wasp!
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 24 April, 2017.
Pellucid Fly (Volucella pellucens)
Pellucid Fly, Volucella pellucens, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ One of the largest species of hover flies in the UK, the Pellucid Fly can reach 15 mm (0.6 inches) long. The larvae (maggots) of this fly live in bumblebee nests, where they eat the waste products of the bees. Their clean-up duty comes at a price, though, because according to NatureSpot, they also will eat the bee larvae.
Photographed by: Deborah Ball. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK. Date: 9 July, 2019.
Debbie says she found it in her garden.
Striped Back Flower Fly (Helophilus fasciatus)
Striped-back flower fly, Helophilus fasciatus, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The striped-back flower fly is a rather large fly at about a half inch long (1.2 cm). It has thin yellow stripes on a black thorax, and yellow patterning on its abdomen. These flies are often found on sunshine-soaked flowers.
Photographed and identified to family by: Cheryl McClure. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hunt County, Texas, USA. Date: 9 March, 2019.
Sun fly, aka footballer or tiger hover fly (Helophilus pendulus)
Sun fly, Helophilus pendulus, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The sun fly has other common names, including footballer and tiger hover fly. It is one of several hover fly species with stripes on its thorax, but the markings on the abdomen are a bit different than the others. One difference is that the two center marks often show slightly brighter yellow areas, almost as if someone dropped a tiny dollop of paint there. The two bright areas are just visible in this photo.
Photographed and identified to family by: Mike Shergold. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK. Date: summer 2020.
Add your photo here!
Thick-Legged Hover Flies (Syritta pipiens)
Thick-legged hover fly, mating pair, Syritta pipiens, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ Note the difference in the eyes between the male (rear) and female thick-legged hover fly. Additional photos of this species follow.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 22 September, 2018.
Thick-Legged Hover Fly (Syritta pipiens)
Thick-legged hover fly, Syritta pipiens, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The thick-legged hover fly is tiny (around 10 mm long) with a thin body and a relatively large femur (thigh) on each hind leg. This species also has a very small spine on each hind leg (shown in the middle photo), which helps to verify the identification of this species.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here, here and here. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 22 September, 2018.
Mexican Cactus Fly (Copestylum mexicanum)
Mexican cactus fly, female, Copestylum mexicanum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The bi-colored wings are one feature of the Mexican cactus fly. As in many fly species, male eyes abut one another, while eyes of a female (shown here) do not touch each other.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 28 September, 2018.
Mexican Cactus Fly (Copestylum mexicanum)
Mexican cactus fly, female, Copestylum mexicanum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ Another feature of the Mexican cactus fly is the white flap on each wing. The flap is called a calypter. The photographer says the flowers are about 10 mm in diameter, which makes the fly about 20 mm (about 0.4 inches) long.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 28 September, 2018.
Hover Fly (Copestylum marginatum)
Hover fly, Copestylum marginatum, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This hover fly has a white slash on each side of its thorax and two smaller white ovals between the slashes. It abdomen is banded.
Photographed and identified to family by: Wayne Center. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Riverside, California. Date February 24,2020. Date: 24 February, 2020.
Wayne spotted this fly “nectaring from a wild marigold in my garden.”
Add your photo here!
Hoverfly (Lejops spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Lejops, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This hover fly has bold stripes on its thorax, and three pairs of curved bands on its abdomen.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Markey Township, Houghton Lake, Michigan. Date: 7 July, 2017.
Hover fly (Phytomia incisa)
Hover fly, female, Phytomia incisa, subfamily Eristalinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This species of hover fly is often mistaken for a honeybee. Identifier Marc De Meyer says, “It is a species found throughout large parts of Africa.” For more information about this genus of flies, click here.
Photographed by: Natalie Rowles. Identified by: Marc De Meyer of the Royal Museum for Central Africa. Thank you, Dr. De Meyer! Location: Pinetown, South Africa. Date: 14 December, 2020.
Natalie says, “It sat still till I got my camera and took a few shots of it, sitting on a sweet pepper plant.”
Hoverfly (Megasyrphus laxus)
Black-legged gossamer, Megasyrphus laxus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This hover fly, which is sometimes called a black-legged gossamer has lovely pearly-blue markings on its abdomen. Depending on the light, however, the markings may take on a golden hue.
Photographed and identified to family by: Joan Lovell. Location: Searsburg, Vermont, USA. Date: 31 July, 2020.
Hover Fly (Syrphus torvus)
Hover fly, Syrphus torvus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The golden fuzz (pubescence) on this hover fly’s thorax is noticeable almost as a halo effect in these fine photographs. The photographer noted that the one on the left is a male and the one on the right female. To tell the difference in this and many other species of flies, look closely at the eyes. Females have a space between the eyes, while the eyes of males touch one another.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 8 April, 2017.
Hover fly (Syrphus torvus)
Hover Fly, Syrphus torvus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The photographer spotted this hover fly in a deck planter, resting on prickly sow thistle. Note: Prickly sow thistle (Sonchus asper) has a yellow dandelion-like flower and spiny leaves.
Photographed and identified by: Robert Uram. Location: Russian Hill San Francisco, California, USA. Date: 13 April, 2018.
Hoverfly (Syrphus spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Syrphus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae (the flower and hover flies).
□ The photographer posits that this may be either the species Syrphus ribesii or Syrphus vitripennis. Hover fly specialist Jeff Skevington of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada took a look, but could not positively identify it beyond the genus.
Photographed and identified as the genus Syrphus by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 1 September, 2017.
Hover Fly (Melangyna cincta)
Hover fly (no common name beyond that), Melangyna cincta, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
Photographed and identified by: Yvonne Ugarte. Yvonne wasn’t sure of her identification, but she was right! Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. Date: 17 October, 2016.
Common Oblique Syrphid (Allograpta obliqua)
Common oblique syrphid, Allograpta obliqua, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The common oblique syrphid is yet another hover fly with a gorgeously patterned abdomen.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 9 December, 2016.
Common Oblique Syrphid (Allograpta obliqua)
Common oblique syrphid, Allograpta obliqua, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ Take a close look to see the spongy mouthparts (the “tongue”) on this common oblique syrphid.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 18 December, 2016.
Add your photo here!
Hover Fly (Toxomerus marginatus)
Calligrapher Fly, Toxomerus marginatus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The abdomen on the calligrapher fly looks as if it was indeed drawn by a calligrapher! According to Bugguide.net, if the maggots of this fly develop under warmer temperatures, the color of the adults are more of a pale orange. If the maggots develop under cooler temperatures, the adults are darker orange.
Photographed and identified by: Eugene Quail. Location: Section 6, Nottawa Twp., Isabella County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 July, 2015.
Hover Fly (Toxomerus politus)
Hover fly, sometimes called a corn-feeding syrphid fly, Toxomerus politus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This gorgeous hover fly is occasionally called a corn-feeding syrphid fly because it eats corn pollen and is a member of the scientific family Syrphidae, but it is usually only known by its scientific name of Toxomerus politus.
Photographed by: Jessica Miller. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Waggoner, Illinois, USA. Date: 10 August, 2019. Jessica says, “These swarm my mom’s new deck: anywhere from 15-50 all day long.”
Eastern Calligrapher Fly (Toxomerus geminatus)
Eastern calligrapher, Toxomerus geminatus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The eastern calligrapher is found in the eastern half of the United States and up into southern Canada.
Photographed and identified by: Denise Rulason. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 3 July, 2020.
Hover Fly (Epistrophe spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Epistrophe, possibly Epistrophe grossulariae, female, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
Photographed by: Martin Barnes. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: South of England, Dover, UK. Date: 5 July, 2019.
Syrphid Fly/Hoverfly (Platycheirus trichopus)
Syrphid fly/hover fly, female, in the genus Platycheirus, likely Platycheirus trichopus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The photographer wisely sent this photo of a syrphid fly to bugguide.net., which does a marvelous job of identifying the insects of North America. Bugguide.net identified this as a member of the genus Platycheirus, likely the species Platycheirus trichopus.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 6 January, 2020.
Thomas captured this fly while it was on Pink Breath of Heaven (Coleonema pulchellum), which has petals 5 mm long.
Yellow-Shouldered Stout Hoverfly (Simosyrphus grandicornis)
Hover fly, possibly yellow-shouldered stout hover fly (also known as common hoverfly), Simosyrphus grandicornis, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ A hoverfly hovering — how appropriate! This looks like it might be a yellow-shouldered stout hover fly.
Photographed by: Ajay Antony. Identified tentatively by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamilnadu, India. Date: 13 May, 2017.
Pied Hover fly (Scaeva pyrastri)
Hover fly, likely a pied hover fly, Scaeva pyrastri, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This hover fly is on a bladder campion plant (Silene vulgaris).
Photographed and identified by: Robert Uram. Location: Junfrau region near Wengen, Switzerland. Date: 13 July, 2010.
Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri)
Pied hover fly, Scaeva pyrastri, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae (the flower and hover flies).
□ This pied hover fly was captured in flight in this photo.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 9 April, 2017.
Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri)
Pied hover fly, Scaeva pyrastri, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ Zoom into the eye on this pied hover fly to see that its eye is covered with hair. That is a characteristic of this species.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 8 April, 2017.
Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri)
Pied hover fly, Scaeva pyrastri, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This pied hover fly is one of a number of hover flies in different genera with this comma-shaped pattern on the abdomen.
Photographed by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: Jeff Skevington, Ph.D., a syrphid specialist from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Thank you, Dr. Skevington! Location: Ivybridge, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 26 August, 2017.
Hover Fly (Paragus spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Paragus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The red abdomen is a characteristic of hover flies in the genus Paragus.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 18 April, 2017, and 9 December, 2016.
Hover Fly (Paragus spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Paragus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The photographer notes that the red on this hover fly reaches all the way to the back end of the abdomen..
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 28 September, 2018.
Add your photo here!
Hover Fly (Eupeodes volucris)
Hover fly, female, Eupeodes volucris, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
Photographed by: Bill Flor. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Los Alamos County (7,500 ft. elevation), New Mexico, USA. Date: 22 March, 2015.
Bill says he took this photo of the bee on an early-spring flowering tree (two months before official frost-free date).
Hover Fly (Eupeodes volucris)
Hover fly, female, Eupeodes volucris, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ In this species of hover fly, the white curved bars on the abdomen are in pairs and do not meet in the center. The female differs from the male in that she has an obvious white gap between her eyes (the eyes do not touch).
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 9 April, 2017.
Hover Fly (Ocyptamus fascipennis)
Hover fly, male, Ocyptamus fascipennis, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Robert E. Carpenter. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Robert’s slow-motion insect videos here. Location: Guadalupe River, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 16 June, 2017.
Rob says, “I love this little fly. Isn’t he pretty?”
Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)
Marmalade hover fly Episyrphus balteatus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
Marmalade hover flies are beneficial three ways. First, the larvae (maggots) eat aphids, which can become pests in a garden. Second, they pollinate many plants. Third, they are a delight to see with that distinctive banding.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 1 September, 2017.
Hover Fly (Episyrphus spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Episyrphus, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
Hover flies in this genus often have intricate banding patterns on the abdomen, as seen here.
Photographed and identified as a hover fly by: Anmol Singh. Identifica to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Uttar Pradesh, India. Date: 18 March, 2021.
Add your photo here! Hover Fly (Sphaerophoria spp.)
Hover fly in the genus Sphaerophoria, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ The pattern on the abdomen and thorax are slightly different in this genus (Sphaerophoria) of hover flies. Note the rearward curvature of the first, second and third dark bands.
Photographed by: Denise Rulz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2017.
Hover Fly (Pelecinobaccha costata)
Hover fly, Pelecinobaccha costata, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ With shiny silver color, the black markings on the top of the abdomen and white triangles on the side, and the dark-brown shadow on the wings, this hover fly is in need of a more descriptive common name (mirrored jewel fly?).
Photographed and identified to order by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 17 April, 2020.
Hover Fly (Pelecinobaccha costata)
Hover fly, Ischiodon scutellaris, subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
□ This hover fly was photographed in Nepal at the elevation of 1500m (nearly 5,000 feet). See the photographer’s comment below to learn about her blogspot that focuses on some of the insects of Nepal.
Photographed and identified to family by: Karen Conniff. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kathmandu, Nepal. Date: 17 April, 2020.
Karen says, “I have been living in Nepal for 8 years. I record and study Odonates.” See her wonderful collection of odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) at odonatanepal.blogspot.com.
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Hover Fly (Syrphinae)
Hover fly in the subfamily Syrphinae, family Syrphidae.
Hover flies in this subfamily (Syrphinae) have the typical wing venation as shown here.
Photographed and identified as a hover fly by: Anmol Singh. Location: Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. Date: 10 March, 2021.
Rat-tailed maggots (Syrphidae)
Rat-tailed maggots, the larvae of certain flies in the family Syrphidae.
□ They may not have the most beautiful common name as rat-tailed maggots, but it is appropriate! The “tail” is actually a breathing siphon, so the maggot can stay submerged, which offers some protection, and still get air from the surface. In other words, the tube acts like a snorkel.
Photographed by: S. F. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Alberta, Canada. Date: 28 July, 2016.
S. F. says, “My husband is trying to build a pond using an old bath tub. Today I found these nasty creatures swimming in it.... My kids — both boys — think it’s gross but so neat. LOL!”
Rat-tailed maggots (Syrphidae)
Rat-tailed maggots, the larvae of certain flies in the family Syrphidae.
□ This is an excellent close-up of a rat-tailed maggot and shows its long breathing tube attached. Depending on the species, tube may extend to twice the length of the maggot’s body. See the photographer”s description below.
Photographed by: Helen Booth. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Victoria, Australia. Date: 21 December, 2020.
Helen says, “The largest maggot we have seen is 25ml in body length, 5 ml wide, 7 ml tail.”

Oestridae, the bot flies, warble flies and gadflies

Mouse Bot Fly (Cuterebra fontinella)
Mouse bot fly, Cuterebra fontinella, subfamily Cuterebrinae, family Oestridae.
□ Species in this genus (Cuterebra) have a squished-in face and bumblebee-like fuzz, as well as the wing flaps (called calypters). This one is distinguished as a mouse bot fly by the black thorax with yellow fuzz on the sides, the tiny black spot on the side of the thorax, and the black abdomen with fuzzy hind end and a little side fuzz.
Photographed by: Allison Bedel. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Date: 27 July, 2016.
Allison says she found it while gardening. She adds, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Mouse Bot Fly (Cuterebra fontinella)
Mouse bot fly, Cuterebra fontinella, subfamily Cuterebrinae, family Oestridae.
□ It is called a mouse bot fly because it parasitizes mice — in other words, the female lays her eggs on vegetation in mouse habitat, the eggs hatch and the larva latch onto a passing mouse, the larva then enters the mouse’s body (often through the nostrils or eyes, but also through wounds). Once inside, the larva feed on the blood and tissues, and eventually exits the mouse’s body, where it pupates and finally emerges as an adult.
□ Mouse bot flies are very rarely seen, so this is a nice find!
Photographed by: Tracy Hicks. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Center Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, USA. Date: 13 July, 2017.
Tracy says she four four of these: two on the porch and two inside the house, “I’ve never seen anything like this in all my 50 years here.”
Tree Squirrel Bot Fly (Cuterebra emasculator)
Tree squirrel bot fly, Cuterebra emasculator, subfamily Cuterebrinae, family Oestridae.
□ The photographer of this adult tree squirrel bot fly christened it the “emoji bug” and it’s easy to see why — what a cute mug on this fly! See the next photo for a full-body photo. Weirdly, the scientific species name of “emasculator” comes from the mistaken belief long ago that the fly larvae (the maggots) would eat the testes of male chipmunks and squirrels. Yikes! Good thing that’s not true!
□ The tree squirrel bot fly parasitizes both chipmunks and squirrels in a fashion similar to that of the mouse bot fly shown previously. Once in the host’s body, the larvae migrate to a spot under its skin, causing a sac-like outgrowth — called a warble — to form. The larva lives inside the warble, eventually exiting to continue its development: first into a pupa and then into an adult.
Photographed by: David Price. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tweed, Ontario, Canada. Date: 6 August, 2012.
Add your photo here! Bot Fly (Cuterebra spp.)
Bot fly in the genus Cuterebra, subfamily Cuterebrinae, family Oestridae.
Rodent and lagomorph bot flies have a rather bumblebee-like appearance: squat and rather fuzzy here and there.
Photographed by: Nicole Robinson. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Unknown. Date: 25 June, 2020.
Bot Fly (Cuterebra spp.)
Bot fly in the genus Cuterebra, subfamily Cuterebrinae, family Oestridae.
□ This excellent sequence of photos gives different views of this rodent and lagomorph bot fly, including its rather cute face and the yellow on its rump. Although bot flies can get to be quite large — about an inch (2.5 cm) long — few people ever see them.
Photographed and identified to family by: Melissa Jones. Indentified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Date: 9 July, 2020.
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Rhagionidae, the snipe flies

Golden-backed snipe fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus)
Golden-backed snipe fly, Chrysopilus thoracicus, subfamily Rhagioninae, family Rhagionidae.
□ The golden-backed snipe fly is well-named with that noticeably yellow-haired thorax. Another feature of this attractive fly is its white-marked, black abdomen, which tapers toward the rear. Very little is known about how this fly goes about its life.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Michigan, USA. Date: 10 August, 2012.
Snipe fly (Chrysopilus spp.)
Snipe fly, male, likely in the genus Chrysopilus, subfamily Rhagioninae, family Rhagionidae.
Snipe flies are known as predatory flies: Their larvae, which like wet conditions, dine on insect eggs, as well as small insects and other invertebrates.
Photographed by: Whittney Good. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Centralia, Missouri, USA. Date: 24 June, 2020.
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Xylomyidae, the wood soldier flies
Chyromyidae, the chyromyid flies


Wood Soldier Fly (Xylomya spp.)
Wood soldier fly in the genus Xylomya, likely Xylomya pallidifemur, family Xylomyidae.
Wood soldier flies, like this beautiful specimen, are closely related to the Soldier Flies (family Stratiomyidae), shown elsewhere on this page. Wood Soldier Flies are associated with dead or dying wood. Their family name of Xylomyidae contains the root word xylo, which is Greek for wood.
Photographed and identified to order by: Paul Cheng. Identified to family and genus by: entomologist Norm Woodley of the Smithsonian Institution. Identified to species by: Martin Hauser of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Thank you, Dr. Woodley and Dr. Hauser! Location: White Bear Township, Minnesota, USA. Date: 27 June, 2016.
Dr. Hauser remarks, “Yes, it is very handsome!”
Add your photo here! Golden Fly, family Chyromyidae
Golden fly in the family Chyromyidae.
□ The parallel wing venation is a characteristic of the golden flies, as are the quite shiny eyes, which are usually green (like yours), red or purple. □ Very little is known about this family of flies. What is known is that they tend to appear in places that are quite dry, and scientists have found them hatching from their eggs in numerous places, including bat and animal dung, bird nests, mammal dens, and plant debris. Photographed by: “The World Is My Oyster.” Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Devon, UK. Date: 26 June, 2020.

Stratiomyidae, the soldier flies

Green gem fly (Microchrysa flavicornis)
Green gem, Microchrysa flavicornis, female, subfamily Sarginae, family Stratiomyidae.
□ The green gem is a small fly at about 5 mm (0.2 inches) long. A similar species is the black-horned gem (Microchrysa polities). One difference between the two is the color of the front leg femur: black in the black-horned gem, and yellow in the green gem.
Photographed by: Yvonne Ugarte. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. Date: 27 June, 2016.
Yvonne says, “I am very interested in insects and spiders, and this particular insect briefly landed on my jacket today. Just long enough to take a photograph.”
Soldier fly (Hedriodiscus trivittatus)
Soldier fly, Hedriodiscus trivittatus, subfamily Stratiomyinae, family Stratiomyidae.
□ This strikingly green color of this soldier fly makes it look almost like a plastic toy. A couple of unusual features of this species (besides its color!) include black mouthparts and its larvae, which live in the water rather than on land.
Photographed and identified to order by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 17 June, 2019.
Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens)
Black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, subfamily Hermetiinae, family Stratiomyidae.
□ Besides their large size — black soldier flies get to be nearly an inch long! — they can be identified by the characteristic translucent patches on the abdomen, as seen here, as well as white tarsi (feet). The window-like, translucent patches are noted in this fly’s species name of illucens, which is a Latin word meaning “shining through.”
Photographed and identified by: Jurheny Jasso. Date: 17 July, 2020. Location: Santa Ana, California, USA.
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Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens)
Black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, subfamily Hermetiinae, family Stratiomyidae.
□ The black soldier fly has iridescent wings, antennae that are slightly thickened at the tips, and two thin indents on the thorax.
Photographed by: Tammy Deremer. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Dunnellon, Florida, USA. Date: 28 June, 2020.
Soldier fly (Stratiomyidae)
Soldier fly, family Stratiomyidae.
□ Note the ring-shaped vein structure in the center of each of this soldier fly’s wing, as well as the very obvious haltere (the knobbed structure) behind each wing.
Photographed and identified to order by: Carlo Castoro. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, USA. Date: 14 September, 2017.
Carlo notes that the fly is cleaning itself in the photo, which is why one of the hind legs appears to be missing (it is just hidden).
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Pantophthalmidae, the giant wood/timber flies

Giant Wood Fly (Pantophthalmus bellardi)
Giant wood fly, female, possibly Pantophthalmus bellardi, family Pantophthalmidae.
□ This beauty is a giant wood fly. The photographer said it was huge, and scientific reports list it as growing to more than 2 inches long (5 cm). Although it looks much like a horse fly (family Tabanidae, seen elsewhere on this page), giant wood flies are not closely related, and thankfully, they don’t bite.
Photographed by: Katie Moody. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Honduras. Date: 3 June, 2020.
Katie spotted it on her clothes, and says, “I found it interestingly beautiful.”
Giant Wood Fly (Pantophthalmus bellardi)
Giant wood fly, female, possibly Pantophthalmus bellardi, family Pantophthalmidae.
□ The female giant wood fly is about twice the size of the males. She can have a wingspan of more than 8 cm (3 inches)! The adults live only a matter of days, and do not feed. The larvae, however, not only bore into living wood, but can also become pests, which is why they are sometimes called timber flies.
□ To see a detailed description of the different species in this small family, click here. Photographed by: Rebeca Bruno. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Date: 1 December, 2020.
Insect facts
With many flies, the male has a so-called holoptic head, which means his head is just about completely covered by their eyes — so much so that the eyes abut. Females, on the other hand, may have large eyes, but they do not run right up against one another.

Bombyliidae, the bee flies

Large Bee Fly (Bombylius major)
Large bee fly, also known as a greater bee fly or dark-edged bee fly, Bombylius major, subfamily Bombyliinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This large bee fly uses its long proboscis (the snout) to reach nectar in flowers, and in doing so, it also picks up pollen and helps to pollinate flowers. The proboscis is rigid — unlike butterflies that are able to roll up their proboscis.
Photographed by: Neil Ardeshir. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Street, Somerset, England. Date: 14 April, 2018.
Neil says he found it in his garden.
Large Bee Fly (Bombylius major)
Large bee fly, also known as a greater bee fly or dark-edged bee fly, Bombylius major, subfamily Bombyliinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ The large bee fly is sometimes called a dark-edged bee fly because of the angular pattern on its wings. Its body length is 0.25-0.5 inches (6-12 mm).
Photographed by: Tim James. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: central Swansea, England. Date: 18 March, 2020.
Tim says, “Intriguing! I have never seen one before.”
Large Bee Fly (Bombylius major)
Large bee fly, also known as a greater bee fly or dark-edged bee fly, Bombylius major, subfamily Bombyliinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This pair of photos shows the large bee fly’s furry body, angle-patterned wings, and a close-up of its long and stiff proboscis. This fly is actually a parasitoid: the female will hang around the nests of solitary bees, such as mining bees in the genus Andrena, and when the mother leaves, the bee fly will go inside and lay her eggs near the mining bee’s young. As an egg hatches, the bee fly’s larva will feed on the mining bee’s larva.
Photographed by: Nina-Marie Rouw. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Kipawa, Quebec, Canada. Date: 17 April, 2020.
Nina-Marie says, “I found this little guy on the side of my house. I was wondering the ID of this little insect (looks like a cross between a house fly, and bumble bee), never saw one before.”
Fuzzy Bee Fly (Anastoechus spp.)
Fuzzy bee fly in the genus Anastoechus, subfamily Bombyliinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ With all that fuzz, this fuzzy bee fly looks downright cuddly!
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Kalkaska County, Michigan, USA. Date: 24 May, 2012.
Add your photo here! Bee Fly (Poecilognathus spp.)
Bee fly, male, in the genus Poecilognathus, subfamily Phthiriinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This bee fly has a white “U” on its thorax, and black spots on its wings, but the feature that catches the eye is the long proboscis, which is perfect for feeding on nectar.
Photographed and identified by: Tommy Vick. Location: Davis Mountains, Fort Davis, Texas, USA. Date: 5 June, 2020.
Hunchback Bee Fly (Lepidophora lutea)
Hunch-backed bee fly, Lepidophora lutea, subfamily Ecliminae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This hunch-backed bee fly uses its long proboscis to probe for nectar in a black-eyed susan, a favorite flower for this species. Besides the rounded “hunch-back,” this Bee Fly has antennae with tiny scales on them — that feature gives them their genus name of Lepidophora, which means “bearing scales.” Photographed by: Marion Chard. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Alger, Michigan, USA. Date: 5 August, 2018.
Marion says, “Neat insects, aren’t they?” KnowYourInsects replies, “Most definitely!”
Bee Fly (Exoprosopa spp.)
Bee fly in the genus Exoprosopa, subfamily Anthracinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This bee fly has a pretty reddish-brown body with a cream-colored band on its abdomen, and a mottled brown pattern on its wings. One feature of the bee flies is evident in this photo: the two curved veins in the radial sector of the wing. The radial sector is at the far edge of the wing.
Photographed by: Yanni Petropoulos. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: mainland of southwest Greece. Date: 27 June, 2020.
Tiger Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus)
Tiger bee fly, Xenox tigrinus, subfamily Anthracinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ The markings on the wings of this tiger bee fly are reminiscent of stained glass — beautiful!
Photographed by: Deborah K. Eddy. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Superior Township, Michigan, USA. Date: 2 September, 2013.
Tiger Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus)
Tiger bee fly, Xenox tigrinus, subfamily Anthracinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This tiger bee fly is a large species, measuring up to 1.8 inches long (4.5 cm) long.
Photographed and identified by: Carlo Castoro. (Nice job with the ID, Carlo!) Location: Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 8 August, 2017.
Carlo says, “He landed on my wife’s back in Pittsburgh. He was really big for a fly — the squares in that pattern are 1/2 inch apart!”
Tiger Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus)
Tiger Bee Fly, Xenox tigrinus, subfamily Anthracinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This tiger bee fly looks similar to a bee, so many people swat them. What people should be doing instead is celebrating the appearance of these flies, which are excellent pollinators.
Found by: Story Sutterfield, age 7; and photographed by her grandmother. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Traders Point Creamery, Zionsville, Indiana, USA. Date: 26 August, 2017.
Story’s mom Shannon says, “My mom took forever trying to take the picture of this bug because it didn’t want to cooperate!“ KnowYourInsects.org says, “Sometimes insects are a lot like kids ☺.”
Zigzag Bee Fly (Hemipenthes spp.)
Zigzag bee fly in the genus Hemipenthes, subfamily Anthracinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This zigzag bee fly is one of numerous species in the genus Hemipenthes that look nearly identical.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 20 June, 2017.
Sinuous Bee Fly (Hemipenthes sinuosa)
Sinuous Bee Fly, Hemipenthes sinuosa, subfamily Anthracinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ The sinuous bee fly has considerable dark patterning in its wings.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 21 August, 2016.
Bee Fly (Lepidanthrax eremicus)
Bee Fly, Lepidanthrax eremicus, subfamily Anthracinae, family Bombyliidae.
□ This species of bee fly has a very limited range — it has only been reported in southern California, usually in desert habitats. The metallic hue is due to small light-reflecting scales that look almost like fur. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed by: Leesa Dowdy. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: Alpine, California, USA. Date: 10 June, 2021.
Leesa says, “I’ve never seen a silver insect before.”
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Muscidae, the house flies, stable flies, and others

Muscid Fly (Muscidae)
Muscid fly, family Muscidae.
□ The term muscid fly refers to any fly in the Muscidae family. This includes house flies and stable flies. A recent study on the diversity of pathogens carried by one species of these flies —the house fly (Musca domestica) revealed more than 130 different disease-causing bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses!
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 16 May, 2016.
Muscid Fly (Muscidae)
Muscid Fly, family Muscidae.
□ The large group of muscid fly have a broad range feeding habits. Using their spongy mouthparts, which look rather like a tongue with a pad at the end, they may feed everything from blood and wet and rotting vegetation to drops of sweet liquid, such as soda pop.
Photographed and identified to family by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Gaylord, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 27 May, 2017.
Muscid Fly (Muscidae)
Muscid Fly, family Muscidae.
□ Many species of muscid flies transmit diseases by picking up bacteria or other pathogens while feeding. For instance, the house fly (Musca domestica) is frequently found in slaughter houses or hospitals, where it can acquire and transport antibiotic-resistant bacteria to deposit elsewhere.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 9 April, 2017.
Muscid Fly (Muscidae)
Muscid Fly, family Muscidae.
□ When a muscid fly is infected by a certain type of fungus, its abdomen can become very plump, as seen here. Spores from the fungus (Entomophthora muscae) get into the fly’s body through spaces between its abdominal segments. As the white fungus grows, the abdomen starts distending and the white begins to appear between abdominal segments. As the fungus grows, more and more white shows up. This fly’s abdomen is greatly distended, and will soon die due to the infection. For more information on this fungus with some photos of flies with considerably less distended abdomens, click here.
Photographed by: Sue Wolfe. Discovered by Sue’s 3-year-old granddaughter. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Marquette, Michigan, USA. Date: 22 May, 2020.

Scathophagidae, the dung flies

Muscid Fly (Muscidae)
Golden dung fly, also known as a yellow dung fly, male, Scathophaga stercoraria, subfamily Scathophaginae, family Scathophagidae.
□ Few flies are yellow, but this golden dung fly definitely is. These flies are frequently seen visiting and breeding on dung piles, especially large piles of horse and livestock dung.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Identified by: Roger Thomason, contributor to the fly-identification website Diptera.info and photographer for the book Insect World: Fly and Mosquito. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 25 January, 2020.
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Bibionidae, the March flies

St. Mark's Flies (Bibio marci)
St. Mark’s flies, male and female, Bibio marci, subfamily Bibioninae, family Bibionidae.
□ In this mating pair of St. Mark’s Flies, the female is the one with the much tinier head compared to her body, and smokier wings.
□ These flies got their name because they begin appearing each year around the end of April, right about the time of the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist (writer of one of the four gospels in the Bible), also known as St Mark’s Day.
Photographed and identified to order by: Ursula Kocharian. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Baildon, West Yorkshire, England, UK. Date: 12 May, 2020.
Ursula says, “This week we have had lots of these hovering and flying round our honeysuckle (we are next to open moorland). I caught these two mating on my laundry line.”
March Flies (Bibio albipennis)
March Flies, Bibio albipennis (no common name), subfamily Bibioninae, family Bibionidae.
□ The male march fly is on the left, and the female on the right. The male has huge eyes on a larger head, and clear wings with one small marking (called a pterostigma) on the outside edge of each wing. The female has a tiny head for her body size, and smoky wings.
Photographed by: Tiffany DeWitt. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Snohomish County, Washington, USA. Date: 8 May, 2020.
Tiffany says, “They are everywhere. At first when I looked outside, I thought the neighbor’s bee hives got knocked over.”
March Fly (Bibio albipennis)
March Fly, male, Bibio albipennis, subfamily Bibioninae, family Bibionidae.
□ An excellent close-up of a march fly, plus an amazing in-flight photo.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: BugGuide. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 11 April, 2017.
Thomas says, “The flock (of these flies) was only around here for about a week, perhaps slightly less. The plant they were mainly flying around and mating on was an Arbutus ‘Marina’ Multi, an evergreen tree.”
March Flies (Bibio xanthippes)
March flies, Bibio xanthippes, subfamily Bibioninae, family Bibionidae.
□ These photos show both the female and male of this species of march fly (the male with the much-larger head). They tend to mate all at once and then disperse. See the photographer’s comment below.
□ This species of march fly (different from the march fly Bibio albipennis elsewhere on this page) has a red femur on each of its legs.
Photographed by: Jo Phenicie. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern Idaho, USA. Date: 8 May, 2020.
Jo found these March Flies on a golden plum tree in the yard. She says, “This tree is swarming with this bug.”
Lovebugs (Plecia nearctica)
Lovebugs, male and female, Plecia nearctica, family Bibionidae.
Lovebugs are also sometimes called honeymoon flies or double-headed bugs, because males and females will remain connected back-to-back (as shown in the photo) during mating, even in flight. The pair will stay in this tandem position for several days, long after mating is complete.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 30 April, 2018.
Sheldon says, “Florida locals also call them Mayflies.” During their mating season, he reports the lovebugs are so numerous that they splat all over traveling car windshields and grills.
Lovebug (Plecia nearctica)
Lovebug, male, Plecia nearctica, family Bibionidae.
□Female love bugs are larger overall, but the male has much bigger and rounder eyes, as shown here.
□ Note: Even though they are called lovebugs, they are actually flies. “True bugs” are in a separate order (Hemiptera) and include insects such as cicadas, leafhoppers and assassin bugs.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 26 April, 2018.
March Flies (Penthetria heteroptera)
March flies, male and female, possibly Penthetria heteroptera, family Bibionidae.
□ Most March flies fly and mate in the spring, which is why this family of flies is called the March flies, but several species are active in the fall instead. These were photographed in October in Missouri. Like the spring-active March flies, the fall species also emerge altogether from the soil (see the comment below), engage in a mass mating frenzy, and then disperse for egg-laying. Adults only live about a week.
Photographed by: Tom Rowley. Submitted and identified as flies by: Gail Rowley. Location: Willow Springs, Missouri, USA. Date: 8 October, 2020.
Gail and Tom spotted a swarm of these in their garden. Gail says, “These insects seem to be coming out of the soil. They’re on our rice-hull mulch (organic, empty hulls, of neutral ph).”
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Scatopsidae, the minute black scavenger flies
Lonchaeidae, the minute black scavenger flies

Minute Black Scavenger Fly (Scatopsidae)
Minute black scavenger fly in the family Scatopsidae.
□ The general silhouette of the body and the two thicker, sloped wing veins on the side of each wing help to distinguish the minute black scavenger flies.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 3 January, 2020.
Thomas says the flower petals on this shrub, which is a Pink Breath of Heaven (Coleonema spp.), are about 5 mm (0.2 inches) long, so this is a small insect.
Add your photo here! Add your photo here! Lance Fly (Lonchaeidae)
Lance fly in the family Lonchaeidae.
□ This lance fly has the typical appearance of members of the Lonchaeidae family: it is small, it has a stocky rather than dainty body, and its body is a glossy blue-black color.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Identified by: Roger Thomason, contributor to the fly-identification website Diptera.info and photographer for the book Insect World: Fly and Mosquito. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA.

Tachinidae, the tachina or tachinid flies

Ladybug mimic fly (Gymnosoma spp.)
Ladybug mimic fly in the genus Gymnosoma, subfamily Phasiinae, family Tachinidae.
□ Take a look at the white flaps just behind the wings. Those are calypters, and they are a characteristic feature of certain types of flies, including the ladybug mimic flies. (The halteres are hidden by the calypters.)
Photographed and identified (with a great guess!) by: Kathy Caine. Location: Cedar City, Utah, USA. Date: 10 June, 2017.
Tachinid Fly (Cylindromyia fumipennis)
Tachinid fly, Cylindromyia fumipennis, subfamily Phasiinae, family Tachinidae.
□ The white markings on this tachinid fly can become quite faint — nearly disappearing — when a the light strikes it slightly differently.
Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. See the full-size image here. Location: Wheatley, Ontario, Canada. Date: 18 June, 20o9.
Tachinid Fly (Phasia spp.)
Tachinid Fly in the genus Phasia, subfamily Phasiinae, family Tachinidae.
□ This tachinid fly is a small fly, perching on a fleabane daisy (Erigeron strigosus).
Photographed by: Mike Bloodsworth. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Mike’s full-size image here. Location: Smith County, Texas, USA. Date: 26 April, 2008.
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Bee-like Tachinid Fly (Hystricia abrupta)
Bee-like tachinid fly, also known as a tomato bristle fly, Hystricia abrupta, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ The front half of the bee-like tachinid fly looks like a typical fly, but the back half is unusual: a round, orange abdomen sporting tufts of black bristles. See the colorful description below.
Photographed by: Victoria Baeger. Submitted by: Clara Bajgar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Northampton, Massachusetts, USA. Date: 20 July, 2020.
Victoria spotted it among the multitude of ladybugs that have come to call in her work office. Clara says, “After enlarging the photo, it looks like a coronavirus with wings.”
Bee-like Tachinid Fly (Hystricia abrupta)
Bee-like tachinid fly, also known as a tomato bristle fly, Hystricia abrupta, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ The bee-like tachinid fly has a genus name of Hystricia, a version of the Latin word hystrice, which means porcupine. The bristles on this fly’s abdomen are indeed reminescent of a porcupine’s spines.
Photographed and identified by: Joan Lovell. Nice ID, Joan! Location: Green Mountain National Forest, Searsburg, Vermont, USA. Date: 28 August, 2020.
Joan says, “This fellow looks a lot more yellow than tomato-y. I thought maybe it was because he was backlit, but when I checked him out later, out of the sun, he still appeared to be quite yellow/orange.”
Tachinid Fly (Epalpus signifer)
Tachinid fly, Epalpus signifer, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ These photos show this tachinid fly from the front and rear. Note the distinctive marking on its hind end, which is a characteristic feature of this species.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sean Horton Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Whatcom County, Washington, USA. Date: 24 May, 2012.
Sean says, “I found this little guy on my kayak hull the other day when I was washing it up. He was about 1/2" (1.3 cm) long, and had bright yellow cloven feet with spiky black hair on his abdomen.”
Tachinid Fly (Archytas spp.)
Tachinid fly, Epalpus signifer, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ The wing venation of tachinid flies in the genus Archytas often include cross veins that swoop and dip, as seen at the rear edge of the wing at the top of this photo.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Kalkaska County, Michigan, USA. Date: 28 May, 2012.
Tachinid Fly (Archytas marmoratus)
Hefty fly, Archytas marmoratus, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ The hefty fly has a white, concave face; brown stripe down the top of its head; black-tipped, orange antennae; a orangish/tan rump; and lots of hairs. The photographer captured all these features in the above photos.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 9 December, 2016.
Tachinid Fly (Archytas marmoratus)
Hefty fly, Archytas marmoratus, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ Another great photo of a hefty fly!
Photographed and identified by: Christopher Barger. Location: East Tennessee, USA. Date: 15 August, 2020.
Tachinid Fly (Archytas spp.)
Tachinid fly in the genus Archytas, possibly Archytas lateralis, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ This tachinid fly has a partially red abdomen and lots of black bristles on its body. Flies in this family are sometimes collectively called bristle flies.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 2 November, 2018.
Tachinid Fly (Archytas apicifer)
Tachinid Fly, Archytas apicifer, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ This tachinid fly has a shiny blue-black abdomen with a bristled end, and a non-shiny tan-colored thorax that is covered with bristles. Its wings have noticeable cross veins.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Fries. Way to go, Brian! Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Southeast Minnesota, USA. Date: 27 July, 2020.
Brian says, “Identified it as a tachnid fly on your site.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “We love when that happens!”
Tachinid Fly (Archytas spp.)
Tachinid Fly in the genus Archytas, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ All of the tachinid fly species in this genus have a similar silhouette.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 23 June, 2017.
Tachinid Fly (Tachina fera)
Tachinid fly, Tachina fera, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ This tachinid fly has a black stripe running down an otherwise orange abdomen. Depending on the individual, the stripe may be wider than that shown in this photo. This one also has very obvious light-colored feet. Its range extends from Europe to Asia and even to northern Africa.
Photographed by: Claire Dormer. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: UK. Date: 9 December, 2018.
Claire says, “As flies go, it was beautiful.”
Tachinid Fly (Tachina fera)
Tachinid Fly, Tachina fera, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ This tachinid fly is often seen in moist areas, and the adults eat wetland plants. This species usually has an orange background color, but photographer described this one as having a strong yellow background color rather than orange.
Photographed by: Shane Crompton. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England, UK. Date: 19 August, 2019.
Tachinid Fly (Tachina fera)
Tachinid Fly, Tachina fera, subfamily Tachininae, family Tachinidae.
□ This photo of a tachinid fly shows off all of the intricate details, including the yellowish bristles behind the head and the rows of black bristles between the abdominal segments. See the photographer’s comments below.
Photographed by: Morney Grace. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hereford, England, UK. Date: 16 August, 2020.
Morney says, “Not at all shy. Have not noticed more. Similar size to a bluebottle: about 15mm.”
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Tachinid Fly (Belvosia spp.)
Tachinid fly in the genus Belvosia, subfamily Exoristinae, family Tachinidae.
□ This tachinid fly looks like it is wearing a yellow-striped ballet tutu. About 2 cm (3/4 inches) long, flies in this genus are parasitoids of a wide range of moths: They lay their eggs in moth caterpillars and pupae.
Photographed by: Nina Kaktins. Identified by: Paul Davis. Location: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 24 July, 2020.
Nina spotted this fly “hanging out on a cardboard box” in her backyard.
Tachinid Fly (Gastrolepta anthracina)
Tachinid fly, Gastrolepta anthracina, subfamily Exoristinae, family Tachinidae.
□ This rather slim-bodied tachinid fly has an overall dark bronze to black sheen; rust-red eyes; a black abdomen with thin, silvery bands.; and faint silvery striping at the “shoulders”. They are not often seen in England, usually only along the southern coast, which is where this photo was taken. It is more common in other parts of Europe.
Photographed by: Joe Devereux. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Suffolk, England, UK. Date: 25 October, 2020.
Joe says it was about 6 mm (a quarter inch) in length.
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Asilidae, the robber flies

Reddish Robber Fly (Zosteria rubens)
Reddish robber fly, Zosteria rubens, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ One of the most colorful of the robber flies, this reddish robber fly has some lively reddish hues on its legs and an intricate black pattern on its thorax.
Photographed by: Stephen Reade. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: New South Wales, Australia. Date: 30 December, 2010.
Robber Fly
Robber fly, possibly in the genus Ommatius, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The orange sections on the legs really help this robber fly stand out.
□ The genus Ommatius is quite large with more than 100 species.
Photographed by: Wasana Niyomdecha. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hatyai, Songkhla, Thailand. Date: 16 May, 2020.
Wasana says, “I found this insect at my sister’s place.... We ended up arguing whether it’s a wasp or a fly. Your clarification will be really appreciated.” KnowYourInsects.org is happy to help keep the family peace.
Hornet Robber Fly (Asilus crabroniformis)
Hornet robber fly, Asilus crabroniformis, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The long hairs at rear of the thorax and the dark markings on the wing edges are characteristics of the hornet robber fly. This species is rather rare in the UK (the location of this photo), where the numbers have been declining over the past few decades.
Photographed and identified to family by: John Nicholson. Nice ID, John! Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Chadwell St. Mary, Essex, England, UK. Date: 29 August, 2015.
John spotted it in his greenhouse. He says, “Quite large flying insect.” KnowYourInsects.org says, yes, it can reach more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) long!
Robber Fly (Clephydroneura spp.)
Robber fly in the genus Clephydroneura, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This genus of robber flies is mainly a tropical Asian group, and this one was photographed in Malaysia. Like most other robber flies, this one has the large, rounded thorax, bristles around the head and at the periphery of the thorax, and long but thin mouthparts.
Photographed and identified by: Nancy Sim. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Date: 27 December, 2020.
Nancy took this shot in her garden near a hillside.
Hammerhead Fly (Holcocephala spp.)
Gnat ogre, in the genus Holcocephala, subfamily Trigonomiminae, family Asilidae.
□ This fly, with the great common name of gnat ogre, feeds on — what else? — gnats! It has characteristic widely spaced, bulging eyes that extend out to the sides of the head.
Photographed and identified to family by: Gail Rowley, Ozark Stream Photography. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Texas County, Missouri, USA. Date: 12 March, 2020.
Gail says, “That one was so tiny… wind blowing constantly… hard to get a good pic.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “It is still a great shot!”
Giant Robber Fly (Pogonosoma maroccanum)
Giant robber fly, Pogonosoma maroccanum, subfamily Laphriinae, family Asilidae.
□ The giant robber fly has orange legs and orange hairs, both of which are quite unusual among the robber flies. It can get to more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) long. See the photographer’ comment below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Melanie Pritchard. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lousã, Portugal. Date: 9 July, 2020.
Melanie says, “It was 3cm long and had a stripe-y bum (like a wasp).”
Robber Fly (Scleropogon spp. or Stenopogon spp.)
Robber fly in the genus Scleropogon or possibly Stenopogon, subfamily Stenopogoninae, family Asilidae.
□ Six-year-old Ivy Martin identified this insect as a robber fly, and C. Riley Nelson, Ph.D., of the M. L. Bean Museum at Brigham Young University, determined it was probably a member of the genus Scleropogon, although might be a member of the closely related genus Stenopogon. Ivy took the identification one step further: see her journey below.
Photographed and submitted by: Andrea Martin. Identified to family by: Andrea’s daughter Ivy. Identified to genus by: C. Riley Nelson. Thank you, Dr. Nelson! Location: Riverside, Washington, USA. Date: 8 July, 2020.
Once Ivy learned of Dr. Nelson’s determination of either Scleropogon or Stenopogon, she and her mom spent hours going through the hundreds of photos of robber flies posted at Bugguide.net to try to figure out what it was. Ivy couldn’t find a perfect match, but she found one that was close: Scleropogon floridensis. Way to stick to it, Ivy!
Robber Fly (Triorla interrupta)
Robber Fly, possibly Triorla interrupta, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This species of robber fly eats other insects, especially flying insects, and sometimes other robber flies.
Photographed and identified to family by: Dana Lane. Identified to (tentative) species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Canyon, Texas, USA. Date: 15 August, 2017.
Dana guessed it was a robber fly, but wasn’t certain. She was right — it is a robber fly!
Add your photo here! Robber Fly (possibly Promachus rufipes)
Robber fly, possibly a red-footed cannibal fly, Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
Photographed and identified to family by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Identified to (tentative) species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio, USA. Date: 29 August, 2015.
Kelly says, “Nice look at a robber fly in the sun.This sure is a large individual. Had great looks at them here last year as well.”
Robber Fly (possibly Promachus rufipes)
Red-footed cannibal fly, Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The red-footed cannibal fly species is an amazing predator. It can reportedly attack and kill a hummingbird!
Photographed by: Janice and Rich Thies. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hartsburg, Boone County, Missouri, USA. Date: 12 August, 2017.
Jan says, “I saw this insect mating with another on my green bean plant.” She snapped the photo the following day when she saw it in a bucket on her porch. She adds, “I have never seen an insect like this.”
Robber Fly (Promachus rufipes)
Red-footed cannibal fly, Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This is a beautiful photo of a red-footed cannibal fly. It even shows the setae (hairs) on its legs. The species Promachus rufipes has bi-colored legs.
Photographed by: Dawn Jones. Location: Troy, Texas, USA. Date: 17 July, 2018.
Dawn says, “It just landed, stood there a while, even stayed on the gate while I moved it. It flew off after a few minutes.
Red-Footed Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes)
Red-footed cannibal fly, Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The red feet on this red-footed cannibal fly show up well in this photo. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified by: Martina Villarson. Location: Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing, New Jersey, USA. Date: 13 August, 2019.
Kyle says, “I was at the mall and went to open my car door and found this big, unusual insect that I had never seen before on the side of the door. As can be seen in the picture, it has a wasp in its mouth.”
Red-Footed Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes)
Red-footed cannibal fly, Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The photographer initially believed this to be an Indiana robber fly (Promachus hinei), which is a great guess. The Indiana robber fly, however, has all-red legs and this one has bi-colored legs. Another feature of the Indiana robber fly is a black tip on the end of its abdomen (not visible in this photo). KnowYourInsects.org believes this is actually the very similar-looking and closely related species known as a red-footed cannibal fly.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Kyle A. Lengerich. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Greenwood, Indiana, USA. Date: 27 July, 2018.
Kyle says he found this robber fly on a cluster of cascade hops flowers.
Red-footed cannibal fly (Promachus rufipes)
Red-footed cannibal fly, Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ Decked out with this big beard of bristles surrounding the sharp, pointed jaws, this red-footed cannibal fly looks like it a sinister Santa Claus. It uses those jaws to stab prey and inject them with incapacitating neurotoxins, so the cannibal fly can proceed to devour the prey.
Photographed by: Kelly Fieldings. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Date: 19 June 2020.
Robber Fly (possibly Promachus rufipes)
Red-footed cannibal fly, Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This pair of red-footed cannibal flies are involved in a couple of different activities: mating and tangling with a hornet. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified by: James Wright. Location: Villa Rica, Georgia, USA. Date: 19 August, 2020.
James says, “I was surprised they let me get as close as I did. All said, the hornet was well over an inch long (moe than 2.5 cm) and those robber flies were huge. I left them as I found them to tend to their business.”
Robber Fly (Promachus hinei)
Robber Fly, possibly a large robber fly, Promachus hinei, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The photographer and his brother (see comment below) estimated this large robber fly to be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.
Photographed by: Anonymous (and submitted by his brother). Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: area of Kansas and Missouri, USA. Date: 15 June, 2017.
The photographer’s brother says his brother was catching and identifying insects for a school assignment when he came across this Robber Fly.
Giant Robber Fly (Promachus hinei)
Giant robber fly, Promachus hinei, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ By capturing a shot of this giant robber fly struggling in a pool, the photographer provides an excellent look at the wing venation. Typically, the veins are difficult to see, because these flies usually sit with their wings overlapped on their back.
Photographed by: LaDonna Delgado. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Slidell, Louisiana, USA. Date: 25 June, 2020.
LaDonna says, “It was HUGE!!! At LEAST an inch long or longer with the tail.”.
Giant Robber Fly (Promachus spp.)
Giant robber fly in the genus Promachus, possibly Promachus albifacies, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This photo of a giant robber fly gives a great view of its white-bearded face, half-moon eyes, numerous leg spines, and the tuft of white hair at the tip of its abdomen (just peaking out at the back of the wings).
Photographed by: Briana Burke. Submitted by: Wendi Burke. Location: Payson, Arizona, USA. Date: September, 2019.
This photo was a family affair: photographed by mother and sent in by daughter.
Robber Fly (Efferia spp.)
Robber Fly, female, in the genus Efferia, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ Female robber fly in the genus Efferia have an ovipositor that looks rather like a sleek one-piece darning needle. A feature of many of the species in this genus — both male and female — is the reddish tibia (the “shin&rdquol) on each leg.
Photographed by: Aaron Fortin. Location: Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA. Date: 24 June, 2020.
Aaron says, “This fella showed up on the dash inside of my car.”
Robber Fly (Efferia spp.)
Robber fly, female, in the genus Efferia, possibly Efferia aestuans, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ Both the male and female of this species of robber fly have red on the legs. The female has a long and pointed ovipositor, as shown here, which she uses to lay her eggs. This species can be relentless for landing on people!
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Location: Florida, USA. Date: 30 March, 2019.
Marv found this Robber Fly at the beach. He estimates it as 3/4 inch (nearly 2 cm) long.
Robber Fly (Efferia spp.)
Robber fly, female, in the genus Efferia, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ Each wing in this genus robber flyEfferia has a characteristic pattern of small crossbars between some of the wing veins, and a noticeable elbow in the R5 vein, which is one of the end veins at the tip of the wing.
□ This photo also shows the long thin egg-laying structure (the ovipositor) that is often mistaken for a stinger.
Photographed by: Eric Kwiecienski. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Austin, Texas, USA. Date: 19 July, 2020.
Robber Fly (Efferia albibarbis)
Robber fly, male, Efferia albibarbis, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This male robber fly has a two black spots on either side of the thorax, and an abdomen with a brown-banded section, a white band, and a black bulbous tip.
Photographed and identified to order by: Jo-Anne Mason. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Anguilla (Caribbean). Date: 15 June, 2017.
Jo-Anne says, “I will look for more interesting bugs.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “A noble pursuit!”
Robber Fly (Efferia spp.)
Robber fly in the genus Efferia, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This male robber fly has a large bulbous end, called the claspers, which he uses to grab onto the female during mating.
Photographed by: Candace Lee. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA. Date: 24 May, 2020.
Robber Fly (Efferia spp.)
Robber fly, male, in the genus Efferia, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This male robber fly has the white band and a black bulbous tip on its abdomen, as do several species in this genus. He also has yellow tibiae (the “the shins”).
Photographed by: Sandra Lombana. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Heredia, Costa Rica. Date: 21 May, 2020.
Sandra says this robber fly visited her in her house.
Robber Fly (Efferia aestuans)
Robber fly, female, Efferia aestuans, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This is a female robber fly. The male of this species, in contrast, has clumpy-looking “claspers” on the rear end of the abdomen that he uses to grasp the female during mating.
Photographed by: R. L. Winfield. Location: Swananoa, western North Carolina, USA. Date: 15 June, 2017.
R. L. says, “My grandson found it and I took the picture.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Excellent find, Zack Reece! And nice shot, Granddad!”
Add your photo here! Robber Fly (Machimus spp.)
Robber Fly in the genus Machimus, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ This robber fly has grabbed a hover fly. If the ant isn’t careful, it might be next — robber flies have quite a varied diet.
□ The facial bristles (called mystax) look almost as if they have been groomed with a mustache comb.
Photographed and identified to family by: Frederique Pommarat.Nice job on the ID, Frederique! Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Eastern Crete, Greece. Date: 1 June, 2020.
Bee Killer (Mallophora fautrix)
Bee killer in the genus Mallophora, possibly Mallophora fautrix, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ Several species of bee killers in this genus have this single yellow band of hair showing at the rear of the thorax.
□ Bee killers resemble fuzzy bumblebees, and so do many members of a different genus, Laphria. Bugguide.net notes that the antennae among bee killers taper toward the end, while the antennae in Laphria stay thick along their entire length. (The antennae are not evident in this photo.)
Photographed and identified to genus and possible species by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s slow-motion insect videos here. Date: 4 September, 2015. Location: Guadalupe River, Texas, USA.
Florida Bee Killer (Mallophora bomboides)
Florida bee killer, Mallophora bomboides, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The Florida bee killer lives up to its name: It kills honey bees, as well as carpenter bees and bumble bees! The Florida Bee Killer also looks like a bumblebee and it even makes a bee-like buzz when it flies.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA.
Bee Killer (Mallophora fautrix)
Southern bee killer, Mallophora fautrix, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The southern bee killer is a type of robber fly, but notice how the abdomen on this species is much wider than the typical robber fly (as seen in the other photos on this page). Bee Killers do kill honeybees among other insects, including wasps, and it is believed that the facial bristles (called mystax) may help shield the robber fly from being stung.
Photographed by: Linda Wilton. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Campbell River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Linda says, “Looked almost like a cross between a bee and a horse fly. Personality of a horse fly!!! Lol!”
Robber Fly (Mallophora spp.)
Robber Fly in the genus Mallophora, subfamily Asilinae, family Asilidae.
□ The photographer found this robber fly on a terrace on a Greek island, near some flowering shrubs. She describes it as being “very territorial if any other bug comes near.” See her additional comments below. Photographed and identified by: Ruth Lamb. Location: Ionian Island of Ithaki, Greece. Date: 23 June, 2018.
Ruth says, “He is certainly quite a feisty little chap! Quite pleasant to us and likes his photo taken.”
Robber Fly (Diogmites spp.)
Robber Fly in the genus Diogmites, subfamily Dasypogoninae, family Asilidae.
□ The “hunchback” silhouette helps distinguish this insect as a robber fly.
Photographed and identified to order by: Kyle A. Lengerich. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Greenwood, Indiana, USA. Date: 9 July, 2018.
Robber Fly (Diogmites spp.)
Robber fly in the genus Diogmites, subfamily Dasypogoninae, family Asilidae.
Photographed by: Karen Bickers. Identified by: Matt Bertone, entomologist, North Carolina State University. Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Date: 24 July, 2017.
Karen says, “This little feller was on the KFC windowsill yesterday.... The legs are crazy long on this thing. Maybe it’s a supermodel insect. LOL!”
Robber Fly (Diogmites spp.)
Robber fly in the genus Diogmites, subfamily Dasypogoninae, family Asilidae.
Photographed by: Tony L. Identified by: Matt Bertone, entomologist, North Carolina State University. Location: Unknown, USA. Date: 24 July, 2017.
Tony says, “Just found this today on my car.”
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Robber Fly (Asilidae)
Robber fly, family Asilidae.
Robber flies are excellent predators. Part of the reason is they have venom that can subdue their prey, which run the gemut from flies and bees, to even much larger beetles, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and sometimes spiders. The Robber Fly’s venom is a cocktail of different substances, including various proteins
Photographed by: Wasana Niyomdecha. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hatyai, Songkhla, Thailand. Date: 16 May, 2020.
Robber Fly (Asilidae)
Robber fly, family Asilidae.
Robber flies are sometimes called hanging thieves, because once they capture their prey (other flying or crawling insects), they hang from a plant stem by their front legs, and use their other legs to handle the prey while they eat it.
Photographed by: Diane Paparodis Ciancone. Location: Columbiana, Ohio, USA. Date: 15 June, 2017.
Diane says it was about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.
Robber Fly (Asilidae) and Mosquito (Culicidae) Robber fly, family Asilidae; and a Mosquito, family Culicidae .
□ This photo of a robber fly came with a fun story — see the photographer’s tale below.
Photographed by: Aili Jarvelainen. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, Australia. Date: 8 December, 2017.
Aili says, “Recently on a hot 30°c (86°F), and I was playing in the garden with my little boys, wearing a brightly colored, backless, floral dress when something feeling quite large landed on my back. I reached around to flick it off and was stung on my thumb (deservingly as floral dresses are so uncool). The stinger I pulled out was U-shaped (but) I did not see the culprit.... A week later in my son’s pool, I discovered a stealth-looking insect with the identical stinger and anxiously collected and stored it in a plastic bag with the water.”
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Robber Fly (Asilidae)
Robber fly, female, family Asilidae.
□ The tuft of white bristles (called mystax) on this robber fly’s face are evident in this specimen, which is photographed from above. The pointed end on the abdomen suggests that it is a female.
Spotted and photographed by: 6-year-old Taylah Myrick and her mom Annette. Great job, Taylah! Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Castle Rock, Colorado, USA. Date: 14 June, 2020.
Annette says, “This insect attached itself to my car door handle one evening. It was still there after a short drive home and still there in the morning.”
Robber Fly (Asilidae) and Mosquito (Culicidae)
Robber fly, family Asilidae; and a Mosquito, family Culicidae .
Photographed and identified to family by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio, USA. Date: 29 August, 2015.
Kelly says, “Just watched this robber fly catch a mosquito in mid-air. Nature absolutely rocks!!!”
Robber fly (Asilidae)
Robber fly, family Asilidae.
□ This photo of a robber fly gives a view of the bristly hairs around its face, the sharp mouthparts, and the humped and nearly round thorax.
Photographed by: Amit S. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Pune, Maharashtra, India. Date: 5 June, 2021.
Before learning this fly’s identify, Amit says he was unaware that India had insects called robber flies. So glad we could help with the introduction!
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Culicidae, the mosquitoes

Mosquito (Culicidae)
Mosquito, family Culicidae.
□ Because of the diseases carried by mosquitoes, experts recommend that everyone utilize personal repellants as well as barrier sprays to keep the pests away.
Photographed by and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Gaylord, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 27 May, 2017.
Mosquito (Culicidae)
Mosquito, larva, family Culicidae.
□ The mosquito larva lives underwater but it still breathes air, thanks to the breathing tube (called a siphon) that extends up to the surface. The opening at the end of the tube can close off to keep water out when the larva dives. Mosquito larvae are quite active, and are sometimes called wigglers.
Photographed and identified by: Neil Boyle. Location: Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Date: July, 2017.
Mosquito (Culicidae)
Mosquito, family Culicidae.
□ The photographer was taken with the green eyes on this mosquito.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 2 November, 2018.
Mosquito (Culicidae)
Mosquito, family Culicidae.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 13 November, 2018.
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Tabanidae, the horse and deer flies

Black Horse Fly (Tabanus atratus)
Giant black horse fly, female, Tabanus atratus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ The giant black horse fly be 2.5 cm (1 inch) long. That is one huge fly! The female has a space between the eyes, while the male’s eyes touch. The mouthparts on the female are impressive, and include piercing stylets that she uses to pierce the skin of a mammal and reach its blood, which she laps up to nourish her eggs. Males instead feed on nectar and plant juices.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Kalkaska County, Michigan, USA. Date: 7 July, 2012.
Giant Black Horse Fly (Tabanus atratus)
Giant black horse fly, female, Tabanus atratus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ Look at the size of this giant black horse fly!
Photographed by: Charlotte Rogers. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northwestern Louisiana, USA. Date: 16 September, 2017. Charlotte says, “Have never seen a horse fly here!”
Giant Black Horse Fly (Tabanus atratus)
Giant black horse fly, female, Tabanus atratus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ Female giant black horse flies may be black or a shade of dark purple (sometimes on the brown side, sometimes more black). The females are often seen feeding on cattle or other livestock, but they will sometimes take a nip of a human, which can smart!
Photographed and identified to order by: Marv Goldberg. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 7 July, 2019.
Marv says, “Whatever this thing is, it’s big. From the tips of its antennae to the tip of its wings, it was over 2". I don't want it anywhere near my birthday cake.”
Dark Giant Horse Fly (Tabanus sudeticus)
Dark giant horse fly, female, sometimes called a Dark Behemothic Horse Fly, Tabanus sudeticus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ The photographer noted that this fly was very large (see his comments below), and once he learned that it was a dark giant horse fly, he was able to identify it as a female.
Photographed and identified to order by: Vinny Holt. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Aberporth, Pembrokeshire, UK. Date: 6 August, 2018.
Vinny says, “I found it trapped on my motorbike when I was riding through the country lanes around Aberporth, Pembrokeshire. It was more like 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long. Quite big. A guy who lived there for 30 years said he’d never seen one like that before.”
Dark Giant Horse Fly (Tabanus sudeticus)
Dark giant horse fly, male, sometimes called a Dark Behemothic Horse Fly, Tabanus sudeticus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ Besides the large size of this dark giant horse fly, one of the characteristics is the series of triangles that run down the center of the abdomen. Like the males of many fly species, the male has eyes that abut one another (females have a space between their two eyes).
Photographed and identified to order by: Richard (no last name). Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: West Wales, UK. Date: 2 August, 2019.
Dark Giant Horse Fly (Tabanus sudeticus)
Dark giant horse fly, female, sometimes called a Dark Behemothic Horse Fly, Tabanus sudeticus, subfamily Tabaninae family Tabanidae.
□ This dark giant horse fly was at least 3 cm (1.2 inches) long.
Photographed and identified to order by: Delya Wilkinson. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: southwestern Scotland, UK. Date: 12 August, 2019.
Delya spotted this fly when she was painting her outside wall. She says, “It was pretty scary. It was a cold evening and it was gone in the morning.”
Horse Fly (Tabanus melanocerus)
Giant horse fly in the genus Tabanus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ Many giant horse flies in the genus Tabanus have the light-colored, triangular markings on the abdomen (as shown in this photo). The male’s eyes abut one another; the female’s do not. There appears to be a space between the eyes, which means this one is a female.
Photographed by: Melissa Richards. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Eastcott, North Cornwall, UK. Date: 29 June, 2018. Melissa says she found it a very rural location next to a beef farm.
Striped Horse Fly (Tabanus lineola)
Striped horse fly, male, Tabanus lineola, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ The striped horse fly has a light-colored stripe down the center of the abdomen, as shown here. The female’s eyes are separated a bit, but the male’s butt up against one another — this is a male.
Photographed and identified to order by: Marv Goldberg. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 7 July, 2019.
Marv says, “A cute fly with strange eyes.”
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Western Horse Fly, Tabanus punctifer
Western horse fly, male, Tabanus punctifer, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ The western horse fly, which reaches a size of about an inch (2.5 cm) long, has broad white trim around the edge of its thorax.
Photographed and identified as a horse fly by: Judy C. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Princeton Place, Castro Valley Hills, California, USA. Date: April 2017.
Judy found this fly “sleeping on the arm of a resin chair” one morning. She says, “Nearest horses are about a mile away, so it might be a horse fly?” Nice ID, Judy!
Western Horse Fly, Tabanus punctifer
Western horse fly, male, Tabanus punctifer, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ These side and top views of the western horse fly show the cream/yellow trim on the margin of the thorax, which is a feature of the male. The female’s thorax is typically all cream/yellow. Both sexes have dark wings that gradually become lighter toward the tips, as seen here.
Photographed and identified as a horse fly by: Vanessa Sellers. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Date: 28 August, 2020.
Four-Lined Horse Fly (Tabanus spp.)
Four-lined horse fly, male, Atylotus rusticus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ The four-lined horse fly is mainly yellowish brown, but has huge lime-green eyes, especially in the male (as seen here). The female’s eyes are big, but there is a gap between them so they are not quite as enormous as the male’s. The female can bite, and she bites hard enough to break the skin — she needs the protein in the blood to provide nutrition to her developing eggs. The male needs no blood and cannot break the skin.
Photographed and identified to order by: Jasper Orr. Submitted by: Kristin Sullivan. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Florence, Italy. Date: 11 July, 2020.
Kristen and Jasper found this fly in their pool. He is one stunning fly!
Black Horse Fly (Tabanus spp.)
Horse fly, female, in the genus Tabanus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ The green eyes on this female horse fly are spectacular. Females have scissor-like mouthparts that are adept at nipping through an animal’s skin, and also have tiny hooks to help them stay attached. The female then drinks blood, which provides protein for her eggs. The male doesn’t have the same mouthparts and cannot bite through skin.
Photographed and identified by: Wayne Fennell. Location: the Pyrenees, Spain. Date: July, 2018.
Horse Fly (Tabanus spp.)
Horse fly in the genus Tabanus, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ See the photographer’s comment below about the size of this horse fly.
Photographed and identified to order by: Marv Goldberg. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 25 August, 2019.
Marv says, “It’s the largest fly I’ve ever seen. From its antennae to the end of its abdomen, it was at least an inch (2.5 cm). If it wanted my lunch, there’d be nothing I could do to prevent it.”
Tabanid fly (Euancala maculatissima)
Tabanid fly, Euancala maculatissima, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae.
□ This tabanid fly is a reddish-brown color with white mottling on its eyes, white speckling on its wings, and almost perfectly circular white dots on its thorax. It was found in a citrus area of the South African province of Limpopo.
Photographed by: Elmarie Havinga. Identified by: Georg Goergen of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. Thank you, Dr. Goergen! Location: Groblersdal, Limpopo, South Africa. Date: 21 March, 2019.
Add your photo here! Deer Fly (Chrysops flavidus)
Deer fly, sometimes called a horse fly, Chrysops flavidus, subfamily Chrysopsinae, family Tabanidae.
□ The center of the wings of this species of deer fly has a dark swath with small, adjacent white patches. Notice the three-segmented antennae, with the long and pointed final segment on each.
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 11 September, 2020.
Deer Fly (Chrysops divisus)
Deer fly, sometimes called a horse fly, Chrysops divisus, subfamily Chrysopsinae, family Tabanidae.
□ This deer fly has a large and almost star-shaped black spot in the center of its eye, bicolored wings, and impressive mouthparts. And yes, it does bite people. This species is known only from Florida (where this photo was taken) and a bit of southern Georgia.
Photographed by: Mary Dryer. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Groveland, Florida, USA. Date: 20 March, 2020.
Deer Fly (Chrysops divisus)
Deer fly, sometimes called a horse fly, Chrysops divisus, subfamily Chrysopsinae, family Tabanidae.
□ This photo of a deer fly shows both the silhouette of the fly through a car window, and in the inset, a top-down view.
Photographed by: Brad Harris. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Longview, Texas, USA. Date: 10 June, 2020.
Brad says a group of these deer flies showed up around his car. He adds, “They are striped, fly like but larger than a housefly.”
Deer Fly (Chrysops pikei)
Deer fly, Chrysops pikei, subfamily Chrysopsinae, family Tabanidae.
Deer flies are often a bit larger than house flies, and they are blood-suckers. Fortunately, this one took time from its biting ways to pose for a photo. The photographer found another reason to like this one (see his comment below).
Photographed and identified to order by: Marv Goldberg. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 26 April, 2019.
Marv says, “Nice eyes.”
Deer Fly (Chrysops pikei)
Deer fly, Chrysops pikei, subfamily Chrysopsinae, family Tabanidae.
Deer flies can be quite irritating as they will land a person’s head or back, bite if they land on flesh, and when swatted off, circle around and around before landing and biting again. See the comment below.
Photographed by: Dawn Knott. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near the Patuxent River in Brandywine, Maryland, USA. Date: 6 June, 2020.
Dawn says, “(We) keep getting harrassed by these guys.”
Add your photo here! Horse Fly (Tabanidae)
Horse fly, family Tabanidae.
□ Many species of horse flies have eyes with a more vertical orientation, but others have eyes that sit more horizontally as shown here. Mouthparts in many, including this one, extend forward with a slight upward swoop. Female horseflies are the biters, using the two sharp, knife-like blades of their mouthparts to scissor through the skin. Males have much weaker mouthparts.
Photographed and identified to order by: Claire Steiger. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lakeland, Florida, USA. Date: 29 October, 2020.
Claire found this fly on the door of her car.
Long-Tongued Horse Fly (Philoliche longirostris)
Long-tongued horse fly, Philoliche longirostris, subfamily Pangoniinae, family Tabanidae.
□ This long-tongued horse fly is nothing short of amazing. It has an extremely long proboscis, which is perfect for reaching deep into especially deep, trumpet-shaped flowers in Nepal, where this photo was taken. It can move that proboscis out of the way (it is visible swept back under the body in the center photo), so it can use its second proboscis (!) to bite.
Photographed and identified by: Karen Conniff. Thank you, Karen! Location: Bagmati, Nepal. Date: 27 August, 2020.
Karen says, “It is the only pollinator of ginger called Roscoe purpurea.” The photo at right shows this fly using its long proboscis to pollinate that very ginger.
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Dolichopodidae, the long-legged flies

Long-Legged Fly (Hydrophorus spp.)
Long-legged flies, tentatively identified as the genus Hydrophorus, subfamily Hydrophorinae, family Dolichopodidae.
Long-legged flies in the genus Hydrophorus skate along the water surface, periodically flying off. As with many species of insects, the female is larger than the male.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: city of South San Francisco, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 24 November, 2017.
Surprisingly, Thomas says they were not too difficult to photograph. He remarks, “The puddle of water was not very large, perhaps about a couple of feet or so in length and width, so they never got very far away, they never took off while I was there, and they seemed to like the side that I was on!”
Long-Legged Fly (Condylostylus sipho)
Long-legged fly, Condylostylus sipho, subfamily Sciapodinae, family Dolichopodidae.
□ These long-legged flies have long legs make them look quite delicate. They are rather interesting flies for their courtship ritual: The males dance or fly in ways that show off their long legs to the females, something the females apparently find quite attractive.
Photographed by: Amy Asta. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Philadelphia suburbs, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 27 August, 2020.
Long-Legged Fly (Plagioneurus univittatus)
Long-legged fly, Plagioneurus univittatus, subfamily Plagioneurinae, family Dolichopodidae.
□ This long-legged fly has a brown stripe on its thorax, and numerous bands on its abdomen. This species has hairs on its thorax, but they are not visible in this photograph.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 24 March, 2018.
Sheldon says, “Subject is tiny really tiny. I used a lot of zoom, then major cropping.”
Long-Legged Fly (Condylostylus spp.)
Long-legged fly, tentatively identified as the genus Condylostylus, subfamily Sciapodinae, family Dolichopodidae.
□ This long-legged fly is in the subfamily Sciapodinae. All of the flies in this subfamily have a “vertex deeply excavated when viewed from ahead,” according to BugGuide. That means its “forehead” has a big dip in the middle (as seen in this photo).”
Photographed and identified to family by: Gail Rowley, Ozark Stream Photography. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Texas County, Missouri, USA. Date: 14 April, 2018.
Gail says it was on a common milkweed plant (Asclepias syriaca).
Long-Legged Fly (Condylostylus spp.)
Long-legged fly in the genus Condylostylus, subfamily Sciapodinae, family Dolichopodidae.
Long-legged flies not only have long and thin legs, but also have long wings. They are usually metallic. Adults are predators, eating other small arthropods, such as mites and aphids, so they are good insects to see in a garden.
Photographed and identified to order by: Marv Goldberg. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 1 November, 2018.
Marv says, “This cute little guy just showed up on my windowsill.”
Long-Legged Fly (Condylostylus mundus)
Long-legged fly, male, Condylostylus mundus, subfamily Sciapodinae, family Dolichopodidae.
□ The blue is indicative of a male in this species of long-legged fly. Females are green, according to BugGuide. Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 7 April, 2018.
Long-Legged Fly (Condylostylus caudatus)
Long-legged fly, Condylostylus caudatus, subfamily Sciapodinae, family Dolichopodidae.
□ The photographer pointed out the hair on the thorax of this long-legged fly. Also note the hair extending from the end the abdomen — the hair is not always evident, but it is clearly seen on this excellent photo.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 15 May, 2019.
Long-Legged Fly (Condylostylus spp.)
Long-legged fly in the genus Condylostylus, subfamily Sciapodinae, family Dolichopodidae.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 7 April, 2018.
Long-Legged Fly, family Dolichopodidae
Long-legged fly, family Dolichopodidae.
□ Identification of these small, long-legged flies to species is very difficult, and typically requires microscopic examination by an expert.
Photographed by: Dave Delman. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: New York, USA. Date: 23 July, 2017.
Long-Legged Fly, Condylostylus spp.
Long-legged fly in the genus Condylostylus, subfamily Sciapodinae, family Dolichopodidae.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 6 April, 2018.
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Sarcophagidae, the flesh flies

Flesh fly (Sarcophaga carnaria)
Flesh fly, Sarcophaga carnaria, subfamily Sarcophaginae, family Sarcophagidae.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: 14 September, 2017. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK.
Red-tailed flesh fly (Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis)
Red-tailed flesh fly (Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis), subfamily Sarcophaginae, family Sarcophagidae.
□ Look closely to see the red “tail” on this red-tailed flesh fly.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 15 September, 2016.
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Calliphoridae, the blow, carrion, bottle and cluster flies

Oriental Latrine Fly (Chrysomya megacephala)
Oriental latrine fly, male, Chrysomya megacephala, family Calliphoridae.
□ Large red eyes and metallic body are hallmarks of this species with the rather unflattering common name of Oriental latrine fly. The male (shown here) has especially huge eyes that abut one another.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 23 June, 2017.
Oriental Latrine Fly (Chrysomya megacephala)
Oriental latrine flies, Chrysomya megacephala, subfamily Chrysomyinae, family Calliphoridae.
Oriental latrine flies are often seen in groups like this. Note the spacing between the eyes in the two females, and the lack of a space in the male.
Photographed and identified to order by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Florida, USA. Date: 30 January, 2019.
Marv says, “What a horrible name for a poor insect. Considering where I live, it should be changed to Occidental Latrine Flies!”
Blue Bottle Fly (Protophormia terraenovae)
Blue bottle fly, Protophormia terraenovae, subfamily Chrysomyinae, family Calliphoridae.
□ Characteristic features of this species of blue bottle fly include the metallic blue body, a black head and legs, and up to 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) long).
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 18 April, 2018.
Bottle Fly (Calliphoridae)
Bottle fly, family Calliphoridae.
□ A mating pair of bottle flies on a Verbascum leaf.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Crowland, Norfolk, England. Date: 25 February, 2020.
Bottle Fly (Calliphoridae)
Bottle fly, family Calliphoridae.
□ A close-up of a bottle fly on a Verbascum leaf.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Crowland, Norfolk, England. Date: 25 February, 2020.
Blue Bottle Fly (Calliphora vicini)
Blue Bottle Fly, Calliphora vicini, subfamily Calliphorinae, family Calliphoridae.
Calliphora vicini and Calliphora vomitoria are almost identical. One way to tell them apart is to look at the “cheeks.” If they are orange with black hairs (like this one), it is Calliphora vicini. If the they are black with orange hairs instead, it is Calliphora vomitoria.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Nice identification, Bryan! Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 30 August, 2017.
Bryan says, “Somewhere was noted that there are some 270 species of hover fly in Britain!”
Blue Bottle Fly (Calliphora vomitoria)
Blue bottle fly, Calliphora vomitoria, subfamily Calliphorinae, family Calliphoridae.
□ Several species are known by the general name of blue bottle fly. This one has black “cheeks”, which makes it the species Calliphora vomitoria. The blue metallic abdomen is especially brilliant in these photos. The body is covered with bristles, which can make it look almost fuzzy. Blue Bottle Flies can be found on rotting meat and garbage, as well as flowers that have rot-like odors, such as the appropriately named skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). Skunk cabbage has a strange-looking bloom that appears in the very early spring.
Photographed and identified to order by: Cheryl McClure. Location: Hunt County, Texas, USA. Date: 9 March, 2019.
Cheryl says, “I was surprised at how many different bugs were on the Bradford Pear, and the blue glow caught my eye!”
Common Green Bottle Fly (Lucilia sericata)
Common green bottle fly, female, Lucilia sericata, subfamily Luciliinae, family Calliphoridae.
□ Forensics scientists use common green bottle flies to help them determine a victim’s time of death. Because the flies will begin to lay eggs on a dead body within a very short time frame, and their ensuing life stages come at very predictable times thereafter, the scientists can work backward from the lifestage discovered on the body and figure out when the death occurred.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 21 August, 2016.
Common Green Bottle Fly (Lucilia sericata)
Common green bottle fly, female, Lucilia sericata, subfamily Luciliinae, family Calliphoridae.
□ This series of photos shows this common green bottle fly from several angles, which show more brown than green in the metallic. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size images here, here, and here,. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 9 December, 2016. Thomas says, “This sure looks like a Common Green Bottle Fly except that it has so much copper.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Some of the Green Bottle Flies do indeed show a lot of copper.”

Pollenidae, the cluster flies

Common Cluster Fly (Pollenia rudis)
Common cluster fly, Pollenia rudis, family Pollenidae.
□ These are called common cluster flies because they do indeed cluster together once cold weather arrives — often in the attic of a house. Sometimes, they are also called attic flies.
Photographed by: Yvonne Ugarte. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. Date: 17 October, 2016.
Yvonne says, “Beautiful markings beneath its wings.”
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Micropezidae, the stilt-legged flies

Red Stilt-Legged Fly (Grallipeza nebulosa)
Red stilt-legged fly, Grallipeza nebulosa, subfamily Taeniapterinae, family Micropezidae.
□ Look carefully to see a white band around each leg on this red stilt-legged fly.
Photographed by: Maryle Barbé. Jointly identified by Lyle Buss (to family) and William H. Kern Jr. (to species with assistance from Bugguide.net). Location: Florida, USA. Date: December 2013.
Stilt-legged fly (Hoplocheiloma totliana)
Stilt-legged fly, Hoplocheiloma totliana, subfamily Taeniapterinae, family Micropezidae.
□ These colorful stilt-legged flies are found in the Caribbean and up into Florida. Several species are nearly identical, so the geographic location is helpful in identifying the species.
Photographed by: Carlo Castoro. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Date: 18 March, 2018.
Carlo says, “ They’ve invaded!”
Stilt-legged flies (possibly Rainieria antennaepes)
Stilt-legged flies, possibly Rainieria antennaepes, subfamily Taeniapterinae, family Micropezidae.
□ These stilt-legged fly might be the species Rainieria antennaepes, which is found in the central and eastern United States and southern Canada (this one was photographed in eastern Canada). In this species, the ends of its front feet are white, but this photo does not show that level of detail.
Photographed by: Stephanie Gagnon. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: eastern Ontario, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Ottawa, Canada. Date: 2 July, 2020.
Stephanie says, “Have never seen these insects and now our goat shed is swarming with them. They don’t bite us and seem kinda content to just cluster around on the wood.”
Stilt-Legged Fly (Taeniaptera angulata)
Stilt-legged fly, possibly Taeniaptera angulata, subfamily Taeniapterinae, family Micropezidae.
□ Different species of stilt-legged fly often look much alike, only differing in small details. Taeniaptera angulata is found in Hawaii, where this photo was taken, and has three stripes on each wing — a wide one flanked by two narrower stripes; either a black or reddish head and thorax; white front tarsi (feet), and white sections on otherwise black middle and hind legs.
Photographed by: Christian Moratin. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kapolei, Hawaii. Date: 23 March, 2021.

Neriidae, the cactus flies and banana-stalk flies
Empididae, the dance flies


Neriid Fly (Telostylinus lineolatus)
Banana-stalk fly, Telostylinus lineolatus, family Neriidae.
□ The banana-stalk fly and other members of this family (Neriidae) have tall and slender legs, similar to the stilt-legged flies (Micropezidae family). Stilt-legged flies differ in that they have shortened front legs compared to the middle pair. According to Dr. S. Ramani, this banana-stalk fly breeds on fallen and rotting papaya stems.
Photographed by: Ravindra Kumar Prasad. Identified by: Dr. S. Ramani, consultant, Capacity Building in Taxonomy of Insects and Mites, Department of Entomology, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore. Location: India. Date: 21 October, 2017.
Banana stalk fly (Telostylinus lineolatus)
Banana stalk fly, also known as a black-lined cactus fly Telostylinus lineolatus, subfamily Neriinae, family Neriidae.
□ Male banana stalk flies are territorial, and will wrestle with one another, often by smacking the undersides of their heads together, or slapping each other with their wings.
□ This side view shows the yellowish flanks and triangular profile of this small fly.
Photographed by: Christian Moratin. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kapolei, Hawaii. Date: 14 April, 2021.
Dance Fly (Empididae)
Dance fly, female, family Empididae.
□ Female dance flies have fringed legs, which are very obvious in this photo. The photographer guesses this may be the Long-tailed Dance Fly (Rhamphomyia longicauda).
Photographed by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified to family by: the Royal Entomological Society, UK. Location: Ivybridge, near Plymouth, South Devon (South Hams), England UK. Date: 1 August, 2018.

Chironomidae, the midges

Midge, Chironomid Fly
Midge, family Chironomidae.
Midges are often mistaken for mosquitoes, but they don’t have the long, piercing mouthparts that mosquitoes do, and they also don’s have the miniscule scales on their wings that mosquitoes do.
Photographed by: Matthew P. Jointly identified by: Lyle Buss (to family) and William H. Kern Jr. (to species with assistance from Bugguide.net). Location: mid-West Georgia, USA. Date: 28 September, 2016.
Matthew says, “I am having a problem with a swarm of flying insects, similar to mosquitos but smaller and non-biting, hanging out over the last several weeks.”
Lake Midge, Chironomid Fly
Lake midge, also known as a non-biting midge, family Chironomidae.
□ This lake midge was found along the shoreline of Houghton Lake, Michigan’s largest inland lake. One difference between lake midges and mosquitoes is that the wings of mosquitoes are covered with scales that look rather like short, wide hairs, but lake midges have no scales on their wings.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Markey Township, Roscommon County, Michigan, USA. Date: 4 July, 2019.
Midge, Chironomus spp.
Midge in the genus Chironomus, subfamily Chironominae, family Chironomidae.
□ The feathery antennae on this midge are exceptional. This is the typical stance of this Midge, which stands on its middle and hind pairs of legs, and holds its long forelegs forward and curved upward at the ends. See the next photo for a different view.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 23 March, 2019.
Thomas says this midge was about 7mm (a quarter inch) long.
Midge, Chironominae
Midge, female, in the subfamily Chironominae, family Chironomidae.
□ The midges have very long front legs as seen in the left photo. Compared to the legs, the antennae are very short. Males have quite feathery antennae.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to subfamily by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here, here and here. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 7 April, 2019.
Thomas says this midge was about 5mm (0.2 inches) long.
Midge, Chironomid Fly
Midge, family Chironomidae.
□ The photographer managed to capture this midge in flight, a difficult feat with such a small insect.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 6 January, 2020.
Thomas says, “Perhaps 2 mm in length and flying near the speed of sound!”.
Midge, Chironomus spp.
Midge in the genus Chironomus, subfamily Chironominae, family Chironomidae.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 23 March, 2019.
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Cecidomyiidae, the gall midges and wood midges
Mycetophilidae, the fungus gnats

Gall, midge, Cecidomyiid Fly
Galls caused by a Cecidomyiid midge, family Cecidomyiidae.
□ Plants may form growths called galls in response to infestation by insects. Depending on the species of insect and plant, galls may be found in different locations on the plant. Here, a cecidomyiid midge caused galls in the mid-rib of leaves in a New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis). Thank you to the photographer for including the species of plant, which helped identify the insect!
Photographed by: Link Davis. Identified by: Michael Skvarla, Ph.D., insect identifier and extension educator, Penn State University Department of Entomology. Thank you, Dr. Skvarla! Location: Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 8 October, 2017.
Link says, “I have seen them on the same plant in years past.”
Hackberry thorn gall midge, Celticecis spiniformis.jpg
Hackberry thorn gall midge, Celticecis spiniformis, subfamily Cecidomyiinae, family Cecidomyiidae.
□ The cone-shaped growths on this leaf are galls initiated by a hackberry thorn gall midge. The midge lays eggs on the leaf, which triggers the plant to develop these growths, called galls. Depending on the species on gall-forming insect, galls may have various shapes and sizes, and occur on different plants. See a photo of an adult midge from this family in the next photo.
Photographed and identified as a gall by: Tracy McShan. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Dallas, Texas, USA. Date: 26 April, 2021.
Gall midge, Cecidomyiid Fly
Gall midge, family Cecidomyiidae.
□ This gall midge is tiny — about 2 mm long. The long, thin legs and antennae are typical of this family. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Identified to family by: Roger Thomason, contributor to the fly-identification website Diptera.info and photographer for the book Insect World: Fly and Mosquito. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 10 March, 2018.
Thomas says, “Caught on one leg by one strand of a spider web and trying very hard to get free, but without success.”
Fungus gnat (Mycetophilidae)
Fungus Gnat, family Mycetophilidae.
Photographed by: Eleanora Robbins, Ph.D. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. Location: La Mesa, southern California, USA. Date: 21 April, 2017.
Dr. Robbins says, “Several of these are flying around my house, day and night.”

Sciaridae, the dark-winged fungus gnats

Dark-winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae)
Dark-winged fungus gnat, family Sciaridae.
□ One of the characteristics of the dark-winged fungus gnat family is a wing vein that is shaped like a tuning fork, and it is clearly seen in this excellent photo. These flies also have a rather chubby-looking abdomen.
Photographed by: Paul Cheng. Location: Minnesota, USA. Date: 28 June, 2019.
Paul says, “I took the attached photo of an insect caught in a spider web.”
Dark-winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae)
Dark-winged fungus gnats, larvae, family Sciaridae.
□ This “snake” is actually a moving mass of hundreds of dark-winged fungus gnat larvae (also known as maggots) — truly a bizarre sight!
Photographed and identified by: Janice Thies. Location: Boone County (near Hartsburg), Missouri, USA. Date: 1 July, 2017.
Jan says, “The snake was about the size of my foot. I noticed it late spring in my driveway. Eeeek!”
Dark-winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae)
Dark-winged fungus gnat, male, family Sciaridae.
□ Often, descriptions of insects include a certain number of antennal segments. For instance, dark-winged fungus gnats have between eight and 16 antennal segments. The right photo gives an especially good look at the segments.
□ The claspers at the end of the abdomen identify this as a male.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here.. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 3 August, 2020.
Thomas says this one was about 2mm long, and he sees them occasionally on his window pane.
Dark-winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae)
Dark-winged fungus gnat, family Sciaridae.
Dark-winged fungus gnats are especially fond of damp soil, as might be present in a potted plant.
Photographed and identified to order by: Joe Geller. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near Utica, New York, USA. Date: 8 February, 2020.
Joe says this one was about 3mm long.
Dark-winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae)
Dark-winged fungus gnat, family Sciaridae.
Dark-winged fungus gnats have characteristic wing veining: three thick wing veins toward the outside of the wings, and a short cross-vein attaching two of the veins, which can be seen with a close look at this photo.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here.. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 3 August, 2020.
Thomas says this one was about 4mm long, and he sees them occasionally on his window pane.
Dark-winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae)
Dark-winged fungus gnats, larvae, family Sciaridae.
□ This living necklace is made of hundreds of dark-winged fungus gnat larvae, all moving in a circle. These larvae often move en masse, following a scent laid down by a leader. If that leader curls around and bumps into the larva at the end of the trail, it also picks up the trail scent. Instead of ignoring it, however, it just joins in, which causes the whole group to walk around and around in a circle.
Photographed by: Barbara Borkowski. Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 1 July, 2017.
Barb says, “It is totally weird and fascinating!”
Dark-winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae)
Dark-winged fungus gnat, mating pair, family Sciaridae.
□ This pair of dark-winged fungus gnats gives a great view of the differences between the male and female, including the female’s much bulkier abdomen. The haltere (the knob-like structure behind the wing) and the wing venation are also clearly seen on the male.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here.. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 18 September, 2020.
Thomas says each was about 3mm long, and the female was “constantly pulling” the male around.
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Psychodidae, the filter flies

Filter Fly (Clogmia spp.)
Filter fly, also know as a bathroom fly, genus Clogmia, subfamily Psychodinae, family Psychodidae.
Filter flies have a distinctive silhouette with wings held flat and somewhat extended from the body. They are sometimes called bathroom flies because they are often found in the bathroom (or other room with a drain). The females lay their eggs in the muck that accumulates in a sink or bathtub drain.
Photographed by: Ronnie. Location: Livonia, Michigan, USA. Date: 6 November, 2017.
Ronnie says, “I’ve noticed these little things mostly in my kitchen and laundry room.... They are so little, and when I smash them they are like dust, for lack of a more accurate term.”
Drain Fly (Clogmia spp.)
Drain fly in the genus Clogmia, subfamily Psychodinae, family Psychodidae.
□ This drain fly has beautifully patterned wings, and lots of hair!
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, near Plymouth, South Devon (South Hams), England UK. Date: 21 April, 2017.
Bryan says he had often seen these tiny creatures flying around, but it was only when he photographed them and looked up close that he realized how fascinating they were: “Who would have guessed they were such hairy little beings?”
Drain Fly (Clogmia spp.)
Drain Fly in the genus Clogmia, subfamily Psychodinae, family Psychodidae.
□ This lovely drain fly has tufts of hair that burst from the thorax almost like little flowers.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, near Plymouth, South Devon (South Hams), England UK. Date: 21 April, 2017.
Bryan says the wingspan on this Drain Fly is about 4mm (0.15 inches) across.
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Add your photo here! Large Drain Fly (Clogmia albipunctata)
Large drain fly, also known as a filter fly, bathroom moth midge, bathroom moth fly, Clogmia albipunctata, subfamily Psychodinae, family Psychodidae.
□ This set of photos of a large drain fly shows gorgeous detail for this rather small insect: its body gets no bigger than 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) long. The hairiness gives it a moth-like look, which is why it is sometimes called a bathroom moth fly. Even the wings and legs are covered with short hairs. The antennae have little whorls of hairs (called setae) too. The photographer noticed the long palps (the long appendages near the mouth).
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here, here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 23 June, 2020.
Thomas says, “Head and body about 3 mm long. See these occasionally on the outside of a window.”

Pallopteridae, the flutter flies

Flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)
Antlered flutter fly, Toxonevra superba, subfamily Pallopterinae, family Pallopteridae.
□ This species is sometimes called an antlered flutter fly, because the dark markings on its wings rather resemble giant antlers (look at the photo sideways and use your imagination!). Some people call these flies trembling wing flies or waving wing flies, because of the way they quickly flit and flutter their wings. Many thanks to the photographer for snapping these photos of this unusual fly.
Photographed by: Karen. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Date: 5 September, 2018.
Karen found this Flutter Fly in her kitchen.
Flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)
Antlered flutter fly, Toxonevra superba, subfamily Pallopterinae, family Pallopteridae.
□ This antlered flutter fly is one of a small family of flies that only has 70 known species in the world.
□ Note the interesting shape of its abdomen.
Photographed by: Neil Marsh. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. Date: 19 July, 2020.
Neil says, “It resembles a deer fly, but is quite small, about 5mm long.”
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Flutter fly (Toxonevra muliebris)
Flutter fly, Toxonevra muliebris, subfamily Pallopterinae, family Pallopteridae.
□ This flutter fly has a distinctive clear wings with an outline that looks like a bumped-in oval. It will often sit with its wings held out to the sides as shown in the right photo. Note: This species is sometimes listed as Palloptera muliebris.
Photographed by: Ryan Gray. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: London, England, UK. Date: 22 August, 2018.
Flutter fly (Toxonevra muliebris)
Flutter fly, also known as a looped flutter fly, Toxonevra muliebris, subfamily Pallopterinae, family Pallopteridae.
□ This flutter fly will often sit with its wings outstretched, and also slanted forward at bit. Its red eyes are just visible in the photo at right. This species is orginally from Europe and Asia — this one was photographed in England — and is now also found in North America.
Photographed and identified by: Chris. Location: Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England, UK. Date: 9 July, 2019.
Chris says, “It was on the side of my fridge in the south of England today. Never seen one like it before — great wings!”
Flutter fly (Palloptera claripennis)
Flutter fly, female, Palloptera claripennis, subfamily Pallopterinae, family Pallopteridae.
□ This flutter fly is a female, as noted by the black “stinger”, which is actually an ovipositor (an egg-laying structure). Females of this species have been known to lay their eggs in the larvae of midges, and once the eggs hatch, the maggots eat the midge larvae. The adults typically hang out on flowers, or tree and shrub branches. Males have a habit of fluttering their wings quickly, so that is where the name flutter fly comes from.
Photographed by: Sarah. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern California. Date: 7 November, 2019.
Sarah says, “This little one was found by my daughter just lumbering around the bathroom. But it’s got what looks like a ‘stinger’ or very similar to what mantids have on their ends.” The “stinger” is actually an ovipositor, so it’s a female.
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Sepsidae, the black scavenger flies
Conopidae, the thick-headed flies

Sepsid fly (Sepsidae)
Sepsid fly, family Sepsidae.
Sepsid flies have large round heads compared to the body size, and large eyes. They look rather like a cross between a fly and an ant.
Photographed by: Abhay Khandagle. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Talegaon Dabhade, Pune Maharashtra India. Date: 16 February, 2020.
Add your photo here! Thick-Headed Fly (Stylogaster neglecta)
Thick-headed fly, female, Stylogaster neglecta, subfamily Stylogastrinae, family Conopidae.
□ This female thick-headed fly has eggs with sharp barbs on them. Why? She uses the long tail-like structure, called an ovipositor, to jab the eggs into the body of another insect (the insect host.) There, the eggs hatch and the young feed on the insect. Research in 2020 identified the first known host of this species as a tree cricket (Oecanthus nigricornis).
□ As adults, thick-headed flies use their long proboscis (shown well in the right photo) to reach and feed on on flower nectar.
Photographed by: Brett Ortler. Identified by: entomologist Brad Sinclair. Thank you, Dr. Sinclair of the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes, and also to entomologist James O'Hara for pointing us in the right direction!
Location: Coon Rapids, Minnesota, USA. Date: 12 July, 2020.
Of the identification, Brett says, “Awesome! That is so much fun to learn!”

Ulidiidae, the picture-winged flies

Picture-Winged Fly (Tritoxa incurva)
Picture-winged fly, Tritoxa incurva, subfamily Otitinae, family Ulidiidae.
□ This picture-winged fly has a long snout, and striped wings. This little fly only grows to about 7-8 mm (0.3 inches) long.
Photographed by: Thomas Earnest. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Alabama, USA. Date: 28 June, 2020.
Picture-Winged Fly (Idana marginata)
Picture-winged fly, Idana marginata, subfamily Otitinae, family Ulidiidae.
□ This species of picture-winged fly not only has the transparent and dark sections in its wings typical of this family, but also possesses perpendicular striping: vertical on the thorax and horizontal on its abdomen, plus such an interesting silhouette to its abdomen.
Photographed by: Bridgette Hoover. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Pearisburg, Virginia, USA. Date: 12 July, 2020.
Bridgette says, “It would raise and lower its wings.”
Picture-Winged Fly (Delphinia picta)
Picture-Winged Fly, Delphinia picta, subfamily Otitinae, family Ulidiidae.
□ Scientific family names occasionally change. This species was once in a family called Otitidae, but the family name is now Ulidiidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Bill P. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Belmont County, Ohio, USA. Date: 22 August, 2018.
Picture-Winged Fly (Delphinia picta)
Picture-winged fly, Delphinia picta, subfamily Otitinae, family Ulidiidae.
Picture-winged flies get their name from their wing patterns that look almost like stained glass. The genus Delphinia is monospecific, which means that it has only one species and this Picture-Winged Fly is it.
Photographed by: Karen Dickelman. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Canton, Michigan, USA. Date: 17 June, 2019.
Picture-Winged Fly (Delphinia picta)
Picture-winged fly, Delphinia picta, subfamily Otitinae, family Ulidiidae.
□ Note the elongated snout on this picture-winged fly. It looks something like one of the aliens in the original Star Wars movie — the alien called a Garindan! For more information on this fly, click here.
Photographed by: Karen Dickelman. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Canton, Michigan, USA. Date: 17 June, 2019.
Picture-Winged Fly (Delphinia picta)
Picture-winged fly, Delphinia picta, subfamily Otitinae, family Ulidiidae.
□ This looks a lot like a fruit fly (family Tephritidae), but unlike fruit flies that love to dine on ripe fruit, this picture-winged fly instead prefers well-rotted fruit, such as plums that are decaying on the ground under a tree.
Photographed and identified to order by: Jerry Conrad. Location: Plymouth, Minnesota, USA. Date: 5 September, 2018.
KnowYourInsects.org says, “Nice job on the identification, Jerry!”
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Platystomatidae, the signal flies

Sepsid fly (Sepsidae)
Signal fly in the genus Rivellia, family Platystomatidae.
Signal flies gets their “signal fly” name from their typical behavior of flitting their wings — often patterned, like this one — as if they are signalling someone. To see a top view of this genus, click here (Bugguide.net). It is often confused with other flies that have intricate wing patterns, including Ulidiidae and Tephritidae (both on this page), but the arrangement of the wing veins sets the three families apart.
Photographed by: Raven Meindel. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lima Township, Dexter, Michigan, USA. Date: 27 June, 2016.
Signal Fly (Rivellia spp.)
Signal fly in the genus Rivellia, family Platystomatidae.
Signal flies in the genus Rivellia are known to feed on the root nodules of various legumes (bean plants). The root nodules, which usually look like small beads attached to the roots, are home to nitrogen-fixing bacteria that convert nitrogen in the air into a form of nitrogen that the plants can use.
Photographed and identified to order by: Cheryl Ellis. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Howell, Michigan, USA. Date: July, 2019.
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Ephydridae, the shore flies
Milichiidae, the freeloader flies

Shore Fly (Hydrellia spp.)
Shore fly in the genus Hydrellia, family Ephydridae.
Shore flies in this genus are leaf-miners, notably of the invasive hydrilla wetland plants that have inundated warm parts of the United States. The larvae of leaf-miners eat the “flesh” of a leaf between the leaf veins. For more on these flies and their effect on hydrilla leaves, click here.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Identified by: Roger Thomason, contributor to the fly-identification website Diptera.info and photographer for the book Insect World: Fly and Mosquito. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California. Date: 30 January, 2020.
Ephydrid Fly (Hydrellia spp.)
Ephydrid fly in the genus Hydrellia, family Ephydridae.
□ This photo shows the nearly parallel veins running along the wings, and a short cross bar running to the side. This wing-vein pattern is typical of this family of ephydrid flies.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Identified by: Roger Thomason, contributor to the fly-identification website Diptera.info and photographer for the book Insect World: Fly and Mosquito. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California. Date: 30 December, 2019.
Add your photo here! Freeloader Fly (Milichiidae)
Freeloader fly, family Milichiidae.
□ These small, black freeloader flies are visiting, and likely feeding on the dead European dark bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), which was probably killed by the goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia), which is also pictured.
Photographed by: Iggy Tavares. Bee and spider identified by: Iggy Tavares. Fly identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lloyd Park, Croydon, UK. Date: 9 July, 2018.

Tephritidae, the fruit flies

Melon Fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae)
Melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae, family Tephritidae.
□ According to the University of Florida Entomology & Nematology website, the melon fly is originally from India, but is now widespread through much of Southeast Asia. It arrived in Hawaii (where this photo was taken) more than a century ago, and is a pest of not only melons, but also a range of other crop plants, including beans, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.
Photographed by: Christian Moratin. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kapolei, Hawaii, USA. Date: 18 May, 2018.
Walnut husk fly (Rhagoletis completa)
Walnut husk fly, Rhagoletis completa, family Tephritidae.
□ The walnut husk fly has three stripes on each forewing, the last one curled down along the side of the wing. Although it is a member of the fruit fly family, it is similar in size to a House Fly.
Photographed by: Catherine Dyer. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near Veterans Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 July, 2018.
Catherine says, “I was on a blanket under our walnut tree when I found it.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “The perfect location for a Walnut Husk Fly!”
True Fruit Fly (Trupanea nigricornis)
True fruit fly, Trupanea nigricornis, family Tephritidae.
True fruit flies, as in this species, are also sometimes called Peacock Flies. This refers to their exquisite wings. Most flies in this family also have green eyes, as shown in this photo. The photographer described it as 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) long, and with “extraordinary” patterns on its wings.
Photographed by: Nora Schwab. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fair Oaks, California, USA. Date: 22 August, 2018.
Nora says, “There are two of these tiny flies on my Hot Lemon Pepper plant.... The flies seemed to be demonstrating to each other by lifting first one wing then the other.”
Gall Fly (Chaetorellia jaceae)
Gall fly, Chaetorellia jaceae, family Tephritidae.
□ This tiny adult gall fly has wings with lovely striping that look almost painted with watercolors. The larvae of the Chaetostomella jaceae Gall Fly is known to feed on Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra).
Photographed and identified to order by: Wayne Fennell. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Identified to species by: an unidentified dipterist (fly expert). Location: Piegut-Pluvers, France. Date: 29 August, 2018.
Wayne describes this as a “very small fly.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Great photo, Wayne!”
Bur-Seed Fly (Euaresta aequalis)
Bur-seed fly, Euaresta aequalis, family Tephritidae.
□ The bur-seed fly gets its name because its larvae feed on and destroy the prickly-looking seeds — called burs — of the cocklebur plant (Xanthium strumarium). Because cocklebur seeds and seedlings are toxic to various livestock animals, including cattle, pigs and horses, ranchers welcome Bur-Seed Flies to their property. See the photographer’s description below.
Photographed by: Peter Kalab. Photo submitted by: Pat Kalab. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near the Ottawa River, Ottawa, Canada. Date: 11 August, 2018.
Peter says, “The eyes were a very striking green. The wings were very interesting as they are patterned like a butterfly’s wings.”
Fruit Fly (Tephritinae)
Fruit fly, subfamily Tephritinae, family Tephritidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to subfamily by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size image (on a flower with a butterfly) here. Location: South San Francisco, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 24 November, 2017.
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Drosophidae, vinegar flies

Vinegar Fly (Drosophila spp.)
Vinegar fly, Drosophila, family Drosophidae.
Vinegar flies are usually seen on rotting fruit. The center photo provides a look at the arista, or the bristle that extends from each antenna (the antenna is the thick section; the arista is the thin extension). By zooming in, the arista can be seen to have fairly long rays on it — these long rays help identify it as in the family Drosophilidae (and not in the very similar Lauxaniidae family).
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here, here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 21 September, 2020.
Thomas estimated this fly at about 6 mm (about 1/4 inch) long
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Vinegar Fly (Drosophila spp.)
Vinegar fly, Drosophila, family Drosophidae.
Vinegar flies in the family Drosophilidae usually have unpatterned wings, as seen here. This helps to distinguish them from fruit flies in the similar family Tephritidae (tephritids usually have patterned wings). There are exceptions. The spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, is a member of the family Drosophilidae, but the male has a noticeable black spot on each wing.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here, here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 27 September, 2020.
Thomas estimated this fly at about 3 mm (about 1/8 inch) long
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Pediciidae, the hairy-eyed crane flies

Giant Eastern Crane Fly (Pedicia albivitta)
Giant eastern crane fly, Pedicia albivitta, family Pediciidae.
□ The giant eastern crane fly is a member of the family collectively called “hairy-eyed” This refers to the tiny hairs on their eyes. Insect eyes are made up of many small facets (somewhat similar in appearance to a disco ball), and the short hairs are located between the facets.
Photographed and identified as a crane fly by: Julie Jensen. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: New Lisbon, New York, USA. Date: 27 August, 2017.
Julie says, “I believe it is a crane fly, though it doesn’t look exactly like any I’ve found online.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “You’re right, Julie! It looks much like a crane fly (see Tipulidae family of crane flies below), but it’ actually in a separate family.
Giant Eastern Crane Fly (Pedicia albivitta)
Giant eastern crane fly, Pedicia albivitta, family Pediciidae.
□ This photo of giant eastern crane fly shows off not only the wing pattern, but also the triangular markings along its abdomen.
Photographed by: Joan Lovell. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Green Mountain National Forest, Searsburg, Vermont, USA. Date: 3 September, 2020.
Crane Fly (Pedicia spp.)
Pediciid crane fly in the genus Pedicia, family Pediciidae.
Pediciid crane flies have very distinctive, somewhat-triangular patterns on their wings, as seen in this beautiful silhouette photo. Its halteres (the knob-like structures behind the forewings) are also clearly visible. The halteres serve as flight stabilizers.
Photographed and identified as a crane fly by: Sarah Faith. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Unknown. Date: 28 September, 2019.
Sarah says, “Pretty crane fly!”

Ptychopteridae, the phantom crane flies
Trichoceridae, the winter crane flies

Phantom Crane Fly (Bittacomorpha clavipes)
Phantom crane fly, Bittacomorpha clavipes, family Ptychopteridae.
□ This phantom crane fly is a member of the family Ptychopteridae, which is related to the larger Tipulidae family of crane flies. Note the inflated tarsi (the swelled-looking black “feet”) in this photo. This is a characteristic feature of the phantom crane flies.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywe, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 27 May, 2015.
Leslie says, “I very rarely see phantom crane flies, so this was a real treat!”
Winter Crane Fly (Trichocera annulata)
Winter crane fly, also known as a winter gnat, in the genus Trichocera, possibly Trichocera annulata, family Trichoceridae.
Winter crane flies are smaller than the more typical crane flies in the family Tipulidae. This one was about 1/3 inch (9 mm) long. Winter crane flies also have a different vein pattern in their wings. Like typical Crane Flies, Winter Crane Flies have two large compound eyes, but Winter Crane Flies also have tiny simple eyes on the top of the head, which are just visible in the close-up as two asymmetrical dark spheres between the antennae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus and tentative species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 30 December, 2019.
Thomas says, “The only view I was able to get before it flew away.”


Tipulidae, the crane flies

Crane Fly (Ctenophora spp.)
Crane fly, male, Ctenophora spp., possibly Ctenophora ishiharai, subfamily Ctenophorinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This Ctenophora genus of crane flies has amazing feathery antennae on the males — so handsome!
Photographed and identified to order by: Tony Ledger. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tea Gardens, New South Wales, Australia. Date: approximately 2008.
Crane Fly (Pselliophora laeta)
Wasp mimic crane fly, tentatively identified in the genus Tanyptera, subfamily Ctenophorinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This wasp mimic crane fly has large abdomen with a tapered and upswept end. The black-and-white banded abdomen is reminescent of a wasp. The photographer said it was "easily over 2 inches (5 cm) if you measured from the tips of the front legs to the point of the tail as it is pictured.
Photographed by: Randy Helget. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Eagan, Minnesota, USA. Date: 26 May, 2018.
Crane Fly (Pselliophora laeta)
Crane Fly, male, Pselliophora laeta, subfamily Ctenophorinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This Pselliophora laeta male has antennae that are almost as beautiful as its wings.
Photographed by: Sudesh Walavalkar. Photo submitted and identified to subfamily by: Rajkumar Walavalkar (Sudesh’s brother). Location: Vile Parle, Mumbai, India. Date: 27 September, 2018.
Sudesh is part of Kaivalya Ventures, which he describes as “a family of nature lovers. We conduct commercial packaged tours, treks and camping in nature (in Western Ghats and Himalayas)!” KnowYourInsects.org says, “It sounds like a wonderful life!”
Crane Fly (Pselliophora laeta)
Crane Fly, female, Pselliophora laeta, subfamily Ctenophorinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This female Pselliophora laeta may not have the spectacular feathery antennae that the male does, but she has just as beautiful wings.
Photographed by: Roshan Pillai. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Mumbai, India. Date: 15 November, 2017.
Crane Fly (Pselliophora laeta)
Crane Fly, female, Pselliophora laeta, subfamily Ctenophorinae, family Tipulidae.
□ It is believed that the pattern on the wings of this Pselliophora laeta are similar enough to a wasp that predators may avoid attacking it — even though the crane fly is harmless.
Photographed by: Abhay Khandagle, M.Sc. Ph.D. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Pune, India. Date: 18 October, 2018.
Crane Fly (Pselliophora spp.)
Crane Fly in the genus Pselliophora, subfamily Ctenophorinae, family Tipulidae.

□ This pair of mating Pselliophora<.b> crane flies clearly shows the difference in the antennae between the male and female. The male’s are quite feathery, while the female’s are thin.
Photographed and identified to order by: K J Westman. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sir Lanka. Date: 13 April, 2016.
K J says, “These insects are very common in Sri Lanka.”
Add your photo here! Crane Fly (Nephrotoma spp.)
Tiger crane fly, female, in the genus Nephrotoma, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ Female tiger crane flies have a sharply tapered tip on the abdomen — like this one does.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Gaylord, Michigan, USA. Date: 26 May, 2017.
Leslie says, “The orange abdomen was quite striking, and so far the crane fly has remained right there on the screen of the doorwall (that’s Michigan-speak for a sliding door) for two hours!”
Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma flavescens)
Tiger crane fly, female, Nephrotoma flavescens, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This tiger crane fly has an unconnected line of black markings down its abdomen. A similar species known as a spotted crane fly (Nephrotoma appendiculata) has larger black markings on its abdomen and they abut one another, so they form a continuous black line.
Photographed by: Ashok Jethwa. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Illston on the Hill, near Leicester, England UK. Date: 8 June, 2020.
Ashok says, “The crane fly appears to get support from the most flimsiest plant parts seeing how the kegs are arrayed.”
Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma spp.) Crane Fly, possibly a tiger crane fly, in the genus Nephrotoma, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The patterning on this tiger crane fly’s thorax is beautiful!
Photographed and identified as a crane fly by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size image here and here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 23 March, 2017.
Crane Fly (Nephrotoma spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Nephrotoma, very likely Nephrotoma wulpiana, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This photo shows top and side views of the species of tiger crane fly (Nephrotoma wulpiana).
Photographed and identified to order by Thomas Langhans. Identified to the genus Nephrotoma, and almost certainly to the species Nephtotoma wulpiana, by: Matt Bertone, entomologist North Carolina State University. See full-size image here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 15 April, 2016.
Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma wulpiana)
Tiger crane fly, Nephrotoma wulpiana, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ These are the top and side views of the tiger crane fly Nephrotoma wulpiana.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size image here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 21 April, 2017.
Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma spp.)
Tiger crane fly in the genus Nephrotoma, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ Both members of this mating pair of tiger crane flies are orange with slightly darker orange-red markings on the thorax and bands on the abdomen. When the female is ready to lay eggs, she will either stand on floating vegetation and dip the end of her abdomen into the water, or bob along the surface while flying, dipping her abdomen into the water to lay eggs as she travels along.
Photographed by: Leyland Thompson. Identified to order by: Tori Thompson. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org.
Location: Wayne, Michigan, USA. Date: 14 June, 2020.
Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma flavescens)
Tiger crane fly, female, Nephrotoma flavescens, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ A full-body photo and a close-up to show off the gorgeous pattern on the thorax of this tiger crane fly. The female has a pointed abdomen, as seen here, while the male’s abdomen is more blunted at the tip.
□ Some individuals in this species have fairly large black markings on the abdomen (as seen here), while others have smaller markings shaped rather like upside-down Ts.
Photographed and identified as a Tiger Crane Fly by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, near Plymouth, South Devon (South Hams), England UK. Date: 7 August, 2017.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane Fly in the genus Tipula, perhaps in the subgenus Savtshenkia, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to the genus and subgenus by: Matt Bertone, entomologist North Carolina State University. See full-size image here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 15 April, 2016.
Giant Crane Fly (Tipula abdominalis)
Giant crane fly, Tipula abdominalis, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The thorax of the giant crane fly has patterns of black on gray.
Photographed by: Susan Reichter. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Andover Massachusetts, USA. Date: 26 August, 2019.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane Fly in the genus Tipula, perhaps in the subgenus Savtshenkia, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
Photographed by: Trista Brander. Identified to the genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA. Date: 14 June, 2020.
Giant Crane Fly (Tipula abdominalis)
Giant crane fly, Tipula abdominalis, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The female giant crane fly can grow to 1.75 inches (4.5 cm) long, but her legs can stretch about 4.5 inches (11.5 cm).
Photographed by: Eric Mazzi. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Shade Gap, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 15 September, 2017.
Eric says, “I have several of them in my house.”
Mating Crane Flies (Tipula abdominalis)
Giant crane flies mating, Tipula abdominalis, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
Photographed and identified by: Christina Quail. Location: Sect. 6, Nottawa Township, Isabella County, Michigan, USA. Date: 24 August, 2015.
Giant Crane Fly (Tipula abdominalis)
Giant crane fly, Tipula abdominalis, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ Any doubts that the giant crane fly is appropriately named are dispelled by this photo!
Photographed and identified by: Bambi Hanson. Location: Danville, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 27 August, 2019.
Bambi says, “Was on the wall of our covered porch. Not far from an area that has a porch light. 1st noticed it at 10:00 a.m. Photographed it at 10:00 p.m.”
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Tipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□See the photographer’s wonderful description of this crane fly below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Anita Fernandes. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Date: 27 September, 2019.
Anita says, “I am 75 and have never seen an invasion of these files until now.” She adds, “My condo complex is grassy and as I walk on the grass, clouds of the files raise up as I approach. Amazing sight. They are everywhere.”
Giant Crane Fly (Tipula abdominalis)
Giant crane fly, Tipula abdominalis, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ These are full and close-up images of this giant crane fly. Notice the patterning on the thorax and the orange coloration between the eyes.
Photographed by: Eric Mazzi. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Shade Gap, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 15 September, 2017.
Giant Crane Fly (Tipula maxima)
Giant Crane Fly, Tipula maxima, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The giant crane fly can have a wingspan of 4 cm (1.6 inches) and a legspan up to 10 cm (4 inches), so it is indeed quite large for a crane fly. The triangles on its forewings are quite attractive.
Photographed by: Anonymous. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Devon, England, UK. Date: 20 April, 2020.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Tipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.

Photographed by: Norine Nichols. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bird Lake, Osseo, Michigan, USA. Date: 23 August, 2015.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Tipula, possibly subgenus Hesperotipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This pair of photos of a crane fly shows the top view and side views.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: Matt Bertone, entomologist, North Carolina State University. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 26 April, 2016.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Tipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: Matt Bertone, entomologist, North Carolina State University. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 26 April, 2016.
Crane Fly (Tipula paludosa)
Crane fly, female, in the genus Tipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: Matt Bertone, entomologist, North Carolina State University. See the full-size images here and here Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 4 May, 2017.
European Crane Fly (Tipula paludosa)
European Crane Fly, Tipula paludosa, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ Note the dark leading edge on the wings, which is a characteristic of the European crane fly. This species has spread from its native Europe to many places throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See full-size image here. Location: city of South San Francisco, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 16 February, 2017.
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Add your photo here! Crane Fly (Tipula longiventris)
Crane fly, mating pair, Tipula longiventris, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The female Tipula longiventris in this mating pair is much larger than the male and has a long pointed — and beautifully patterned — abdomen that extends well beyond her wings. Both male and female has shite and dark patches on their wings.
Photographed by: Dennis Hudson (a retired research forester). Thank you for your contributions, Dennis! Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org.
Location: Lake Ann, Michigan, USA. Date: 27 May, 2019.
William spotted this pair on a cottage propane tank.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane Fly in the genus Tipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The crane fly is “neither a predator of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito. And it’s harmless.” Read more from this article Mosquito Hawk? Skeeter Eater? Giant Mosquito? No, No, and No on Entomology Today, the blog of the Entomological Society of America. Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Kalkaska, Michigan, USA. Date: 11 June, 2015.
Crane Fly (Tipula varipennis)
Crane fly, possibly Tipula varipennis, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This is a small crane fly — its body only reaches about 2 cm (0.8 inches) long.
Photographed and identified to order by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 16 March, 2018.
Bryan pointed out “how beautifully its antennae are folded back, almost like a miniature Grant’s Gazelle horns.”
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Tipula, possibly subgenus Hesperotipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This photo shows top view and side views of this crane fly.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: Matt Bertone, entomologist, North Carolina State University. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 26 April, 2016.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Tipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
Photographed and identified by: Barbara Wilson. Location: San Diego, California, USA. Date: 13 April, 2016.
Crane Fly (Tipula spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Tipula, possibly subgenus Hesperotipula, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The side view shows the curled posture of this crane fly, and the close-up gives a nice view of the head and thorax detail, include those huge eyes.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size images here, here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 8 May, 2020.
Western Giant Crane Fly (Holorusia hespera)
Western giant crane fly, Holorusia hespera (formerly Holorusia rubiginosa), subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ The photographer says this western giant crane fly, which he found dead in his house, has a body 2.5 inches long, legs 3 inches long, and a wingspan of 3.5 inches! See his other comment below.
Photographed and identified as a crane fly by: Josh Reese. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near Salem, Oregon, USA. Date: 21 August, 2016.
Josh remarks, “I’ve seen a lot of crane flies over the years; none quite this big.”
Western Giant Crane Flies (Holorusia hespera)
Western giant crane flies, mating pair, Holorusia hespera (formerly Holorusia rubiginosa), subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
Photographed and identified as a crane fly by: Anonymous. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Thurston County, Washington, USA. Date: 20 July, 2018.
The photographer says, “Thank you for the positive identification. My guess was all to the credit of the site. This was the second site I checked. The first site led me down the moth branch.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Glad to help!”
Crane Fly (Leptotarsus spp.)
Crane fly in the genus Leptotarsus, subfamily Tipulinae, family Tipulidae.
□ This crane fly has a dark leading edge to both of its forewings.
Photographed by: Ken Ho. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Date: 17 December, 2019.
Ken says, “I found this insect, which looks like a jumbo mosquito, on my nectarine tree.”
Crane Fly
Crane fly, family Tipulidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 15 April, 2016.
Crane Fly (Tipulidae)
Crane fly, family Tipulidae.
Crane flies have delicate legs — this one is missing two of them.
Photographed and identified by: Cathleen Capogeannis. Location: San Jose, California, USA. Date: 8 May, 2015.
Crane Fly
Crane fly, family Tipulidae.
Photographed by: Julia Layton. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Delaware Country, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 29 May, 2020.
Crane Fly (Tipulidae)
Crane fly, family Tipulidae.
□ This gorgeous close-up of a crane fly even shows the tiny hairs on its abdomen.
Photographed and identified to family by: Gail Rowley, Ozark Stream Photography. Location: Texas County, Missouri, USA. Date: 14 April, 2018.
Gail found it on native grass in her field, “covered in morning dew, with one of its halteres visible next to a dewdrop. Actually it was mating ... I have that photo too.”
Crane Fly
Crane fly, family Tipulidae.
□ KnowYourInsects.org suspects this is a newly emerged crane fly with its wings not yet fully expanded (see the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 29 March, 2017.
Thomas says, “These crane flies were running around in tall grass and plants, no flying. What struck me, besides that, was their wings. I could not decide if the wings where not fully matured or if they were shriveled up.”
Crane Fly (Tipulidae)
Crane fly, family Tipulidae.
Photographed by: Rolf Leeven. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, USA. Date: April, 2017.
Rolf says he is “very impressed by the ‘engineering’ of the wings and ‘drive train’.” KnowYourInsects.org likes that description!
Crane Fly (Tipulidae)
Crane fly, family Tipulidae. □ Photographer Brenda Dixon’s 5-year-old grandson spotted this insect, and asked her what it was. She didn’t know, but like all the best grandmas, she went on the hunt to find out. Curiosity rocks!
Photographed by: Brenda Dixon. Discovered by: Rhys. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada. Date: 4 June, 2020.
Add your photo here! Add your photo here!

Limoniidae, the limoniid crane flies

Crane Fly (Limonia spp.)
Limoniid crane fly in the genus Limonia, subfamily Limoniinae, family Limoniidae.
Limoniid crane flies in the subfamily Limoniinae (like this one) holds their wings flat over the back when at rest, while many crane flies in other subfamilies hold them out to the side. The cells in the back end of the wings look almost like stained glass.
Photographed and identified as a crane fly by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Oxford, UK. Date: 25 November, 2017.
Crane Fly (Limonia spp.)
Limoniid crane fly, possibly in the genus Limonia, subfamily Limoniinae, family Limoniidae.
□ This limoniid crane fly has iridescent wings, and striping on its legs.
Photographed and identified to order by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, South Devon, England, UK. Date: September, 2017.
Bryan says, “It’s a lovely blue. Not only that, when enlarged its halteres show up nicely — they almost look like spoons!”
Crane Fly (Limonia spp.)
Limoniid crane fly, possibly in the genus Limonia, subfamily Limoniinae, family Limoniidae.
□ Notice the unusually long mouthparts (rostrum) on this limoniid crane fly, which it uses it to take in flower nectar. Most crane flies have nonfunctional — and much shorter — mouthparts, so they do not eat at all during their abbreviated lives as adults.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Identified by: Roger Thomason, contributor to the fly-identification website Diptera.info and photographer for the book Insect World: Fly and Mosquito. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 30 January, 2020.


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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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