Category: flies

Ocyptamus fuscipennis hover fly The larvae e…

Ocyptamus fuscipennis hover fly

The larvae eat aphids, and I found
these ones chilling on the milkweed the latest batch of Queens were eating. I had brought the whole potted plants inside (complete with hundreds of oleander aphids who made a sticky mess), and the handful of hover fly larvae were enjoying themselves.

Most of the hover flies were the Four-spotted Dioprosopa clavata, but a couple were these weird bird poop-lookin things. When I saw one had pupated, I put it into a container to see who it turned out to be. And it was this beautiful dark lady!

October 3, 2018

This jumping spider scored big! Austin Zoo, S…

This jumping spider scored big!

Austin Zoo, September 28, 2018

pterygota: Alright so I’m the anon, and the s…

pterygota:

Alright so I’m the anon, and the shiny one is Bert. Also, found this other little dude among a horde of lady beetles/bugs/birds (???) and a shiny looking mosquito? But anyways, I’ve branched out from bees to other bugs, on my side blog just for them! I’m very pleased about it

oh, bert is beautiful!! i love those colors!

i believe the little dude under the leaf is a stink bug of some sort, and the shiny thing is a long-legged fly, probably in the genus condylostylus – i just love their iridescence! i sometimes come across ones that are a deep blue color

thank you so much for sharing! do you mind sharing your sideblog? 🙂

Hold onto your horseflies Anon submitter! Your shiny Bert is a lady beetle!!! (Commonly called ladybugs or lady birds, they are members of the order Coleoptera, aka Beetles). Bert is likely a member of the Halmus genus. If you are in the US, you are probably in California, because Bert is an Australian species (Steelblue lady beetle) that was recently introduced to the US [link to bugguide].

Your shy hiding friend is a stink bug, from what I can see, most likely a Rough Stink Bug (usually camouflaging on tree bark). He could be something else, but it’s hard to tell from just his face.

And the above is correct about your shiny green friend. Long-legged flies are very pretty. Some species are a shiny orange-red, but most are blue or green. They do look a lot like mosquitos, which are just another kind of fly.

September 17, 2018

pother: nanonaturalist: @tea-and-whiskers sub…

pother:

nanonaturalist:

@tea-and-whiskers submitted:

Found this guy outside our living room window. He is very big (almost as big as a quarter). I live in Northern Kentucky and have never seen anything like this. Can you help identify him?


WOAH this fly is HUUGEEE! Pretty sure this is a fly in family Tabanidae (Deer and Horse Flies)[link], due to size, antennae, mouthparts, and head shape. Also, these things get big.

I have not seen too many of these flies, but the two I have are this beauty from Malawi:

And this jerk in east Texas who bit me and scared off the carpenter bee who was making out with my shirt:

I think these ones are the deer flies because the horseflies seem to look a little different based on what’s in bugguide, but I am NOT good with my flies so this is the best I can do for now!

Also, I believe you have a female. Male flies tend to have heads that are basically just all eyes, but the females will have space in between their eyes (and they’ll be more rounded in the center of their faces).

September 9, 2018

That second yellow fly is a (wait for it….)

Yellow Fly! (Yes that is the common name)

Despite being small and super cool looking, these dudes are considered the most aggressive fly in Florida (and maybe elsewhere in the US.)

I got bit by one on the toe when I was there! 

Genus: Diachlorus

YES thank you

What jerks

@tea-and-whiskers submitted:

@tea-and-whiskers submitted:

Found this guy outside our living room window. He is very big (almost as big as a quarter). I live in Northern Kentucky and have never seen anything like this. Can you help identify him?


WOAH this fly is HUUGEEE! Pretty sure this is a fly in family Tabanidae (Deer and Horse Flies)[link], due to size, antennae, mouthparts, and head shape. Also, these things get big.

I have not seen too many of these flies, but the two I have are this beauty from Malawi:

And this jerk in east Texas who bit me and scared off the carpenter bee who was making out with my shirt:

I think these ones are the deer flies because the horseflies seem to look a little different based on what’s in bugguide, but I am NOT good with my flies so this is the best I can do for now!

Also, I believe you have a female. Male flies tend to have heads that are basically just all eyes, but the females will have space in between their eyes (and they’ll be more rounded in the center of their faces).

September 9, 2018

Hi!! I was wondering if you would have tips fo…

Hi!! I was wondering if you would have tips for bug sighting (catching?? Bug tourism??) That you could share? Like if there was a better time of day, places to check. I live in Singapore and I've only recently decided to be more open with my love of insects thanks to blogs like yours!!

Great question! First off, Singapore is a wonderful ecosystem and you are guaranteed to find some really good stuff out there. There are three strategies I use when I’m in a new, unfamiliar place and I want to find bugs.

Tips for Finding Bugs (and other good nature stuff)

1. Slow Down and Look Around
I know this seems obvious, but don’t underestimate this one. I lived in and around Seattle for 28 years before I moved to Texas. I don’t really remember Seattle as having any bugs, and I liked them and wanted to see them. Part of the reason I got into bugs after moving to Texas was the bugs here are SO LOUD and SO LARGE that you can’t ignore them. Fairly recently, I’ve gone through all my old photos looking for things I could upload to iNaturalist. And I found stuff like this from Washington state that I had absolutely no memory of seeing:

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Above: Leptura obliterata and Diurnal Firefly Genus Ellychnia

It turns out, wanting to see bugs isn’t good enough. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, like I occasionally did, but you need to be more deliberate to get satisfaction. Regardless of where you are in the world, slowing down and looking around you will help out a lot. 

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Above: Successes in staring at the ground in Paris, France (left, European Fire Bug) and in the middle of nowhere at a rest stop in Texas (right, Wall Crab Spider)

2. Learn Where and When to Look
But of course, not everything will be out in the open and awake when you are wandering around doing your daily business. Sometimes, you need to go looking for things, and where and when you look will depend on your location, time of the year, and what you want to see.

In general: learn the basic niches and habitats of the types of bugs you are the most interested in. Not sure what you like the most yet? Then try looking everywhere you can. And I mean, everywhere.

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Above: At least five species of insects on one piece of scat

For the most part, bugs want to remain hidden. So look on the underside of leaves, under rocks, motionless on the ground, on the side of trees, etc. But, bugs also have to eat! So look in garbage cans, gardens, perched along a pond, in/on flowers, in/under rotting wood. You will likely find some areas are better than others where you are. In Texas, one of those places is inside cactus flowers:

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When you go bug hunting, look for signs a bug is nearby. Nibbles taken out of leaves, poops on the ground, leaves curled up in strange shapes. When you see things like this, it means a bug was there recently, and may still be there! As you learn more about the types of bugs you’re interested in, you will also learn what they eat and where they lay their eggs, which means you will have a much easier time finding them! I’m not too skilled in identifying plants, but I have learned specific host plants, which means I don’t need to wander around aimlessly turning over leaves when I’m looking for something. 

As you mention, time of day can also be important. I think you can generally find the same numbers of bugs regardless of the time of day in a favorable season, but they will be different kinds of bugs, and you have to use different methods to find them. At night, many of the bugs who were hiding away during the day will come out and do their thing, safely out of sight of all the birds who want to eat them. Some of these are attracted to lights, which means a productive place to look is by lights in otherwise dark areas. Check out a few of the things I found at a light in Kuchawe, Malawi:

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If you are going to do some night searches, make sure you have a good headlamp. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to hold a flashlight and a camera, AND poke at a bug to get it to move.

3. Finding Bug Hot-Spots

Okay, so you know how to look for bugs, but how do you find the best places to see the best bugs? The easiest way is to just look for parks, gardens, and other natural areas. When I’m traveling, I will pull up a map of where I’m at, and I’ll look for “green” areas nearby. Usually these are nature parks, and I’ve found some of my favorite places just by doing this. Another method is to find out where other people have seen interesting things. iNaturalist is a great way to do this (and you can talk to other bug people in your area to get tips!). Here’s the map showing where over 600 people have seen over 24,000 bugs in Singapore [link]! 

Good Luck!!!

September 9, 2018

Hey! So my friend and I sitting in the grass f…

Hey! So my friend and I sitting in the grass found something, it was pretty big about the size of my thumb, metallic blue (It seriously looked like metal) jet black wings and stinger. It was bananas, we thought it was a toy because of it's size and just how bizzare it looked. Later found out it was most likely a Blue Mud Dauber. I didn't even imagine anything bug related could look like that but it's a favorite now. Ever find something that threw you off like that? I still think about that bug.

Oh yes, all the time. I swear every time I go outside I find something that I can’t even believe exists in nature. It happens so often that I don’t even remember all the specific instances anymore.

Some notable ones I do remember, though!

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One night in April 2017, before I knew that I didn’t know anything about bugs, I saw this crane fly on the side of my house, eh, not too interesting. I was looking at all the cool moths that came to my porch light, when I saw this crane fly moving. And then I saw it attack and eat a moth. Crane flies are vegetarians. I was SO CONFUSED. It took me countless hours of searching and hunting and I couldn’t come up with anything. My best guess at the time was assassin bug I guess?? [link to iNat obs]. It turns out hanging flies are a thing, and they are predators that attack with their rear legs while hanging with their front legs. I had NO IDEA. 

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This crab spider (Tmarus sp.) was camouflaging as a bud on this branch! 

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Every single gall I have ever seen continues to blow my mind. These were the first. Here’s the iNat post where the magic happened 🙂 [link to iNat obs]

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This mole crab (Lepidopa benedicti) was driving me insane because I could NOT identify it. I was the first person to add it to iNaturalist! [link to iNat obs] Not sure what you’re looking at? Hint: the “tail” is the antennae!

I could go on…

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and on…

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and on…

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and on…

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… but you probably get the idea. The whole reason I started this blog was because, as Charles Darwin put it, “I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects.” And when you see stuff like THAT ^^^^ every day, and NOBODY wants to hear about it????? I had to yell into the void of the internet about it. Apparently the void is really into bugs so thanks y’all! ❤️

(those four above, in order: Arethaea katydid, stalk-eyed fly from Malawi, Zanna planthopper from Malawi, and Vine Sphinx caterpillar)

September 3, 2018

Back From Scotland!

brynna:

An Adventurer Was Me!

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Here’s just a few samples from my massive photo haul! I will post more later!

Xylota segnis! (Brown-toed Forest Fly – possibly a robot)

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Anoplotrupes stercorosus! (Woodland Dor Beetle – shiny blue legs and pleasantly round)

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Sericomyia superbiens! (A Drone Fly That Looks Exactly Like Some Nearby Bumble Bees! So big and fluffy!)

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Bufo bufo! (European Toad – tiny anger unit)

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Genus Araneus! (Orbweaver – tiny eyes and cool tats)

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Nicrophorus vespilloides!

(Boreal Sexton Beetle + Mites – eats mushrooms, a good boy)

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Aglais io! (European Peacock Butterfly – looks like poker chips, would bet on black)

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I learned something interesting about Sexton beetles this week! The mites that ride them around have a symbiotic relationship with them. Sexton beetles will lay their eggs in carrion and other fun rotting matter, and there can be predators that eat baby Sexton beetles hiding in the food. The mites are predatory on some species that specifically target the Sexton babies, so after the eggs are laid, the mites will stay with them! I don’t know the specifics (what exactly is eating baby Sexton beetles?), but I hadn’t considered what kinds of relationships the mites can have with various other species.

Looks like you had fun (I’m jealous!)

August 30, 2018

pterygota:i also found these in the old enclos…

pterygota:

i also found these in the old enclosure. im going to see what the pupa turns into. i keep getting stuff with the plants, probably as small babies that grow. if i ever get something that eats or kills my bug im going to be so mad

The pupa may be a fly

The insect is definitely a fly. It’s a fruit fly, but not that kind of fruit fly (the joys of common names…). Fruit flies in the Tephritidae family are very pretty.

Paracantha sp. (Those eyelashes)

Eutreta sp (Those sequins)

Terellia palposa (That aesthetic)

August 23, 2018

patchesthecryptid:@nanonaturalist I found larg…

patchesthecryptid:

@nanonaturalist I found large black bees. I couldn’t get a detailed shot but they were about 1in to 1.5in long and had a shiny black abdomen

Did somebody say shiny black abdomen?

Carpenter bee!

There aren’t too many species in North America, and the large carpenter bees are in the Xylocopa genus [link to bugguide page]. My friend up above is an Arizona Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa californica ssp. arizonensis). If it’s LARGE and BLACK and SHINY, it’s a carpenter bee!

unleeessssssss it’s a fly 

Above: Mexican Cactus Fly (Copestylum mexicanum)

August 2, 2018 (photos from April 2018)