Green Hoverfly

This shiny little marble is an adult female Ornidia obesa (most likely)…a green hover fly, or syrphid fly. (Like horse flies, female green hover flies have widely separated eyes while males have contiguous eyes, giving them a wrap-around sunglasses look.) I find these little things charming, and they’re apparently fearless: this one hung around to…

Mantis Fly

Okay, technically, this is a shore fly, and it’s definitely a fly, not a mantis, but what else can you call this little dude? Meet Ochthera tuberculata, one of about 13 North American species, and 40 species worldwide, of “shore flies with raptorial forelegs”. (They’re not technically “mantis flies”, because that’s an entirely separate family…

Stilt-Legged Fly

Stilt-legged flies (in the family Micropezidae) make their living by pretending to be other insects — in this case, an ant. The forelegs of this stilt-legged fly (Taeniaptera trivittata) are bright white to attract attention, and the fly holds them out straight in front of it like the antennae of an ant. Other Micropezidae pretend…

Yellow Fever Mosquito

Mosquitoes love me; I loathe mosquitoes. I don’t get a lot of photos of them, because if I venture out of my house I must be coated in an inch-thick layer of DEET to repel them. I try to maintain an indifferent, if not affectionate, attitude toward bothersome, scary, or venomous species, but — and…

Stiletto Fly

About the size of a house fly but unaccountably much longer in the abdomen, with long legs, and in color resembling a flesh fly (red eyes, black and white striped thorax, black and white striped abdomen), this is in fact a stiletto fly, Penniverpa festina. You’d think something this big would have more than a…

Love Bug

If you live in the Gulf Coast, especially Florida, you’ve heard of the “love bug” (Plecia nearctica). They are small, relatively inoffensive flies, but due to their habit of locking together during reproduction (causing the joined pair to fly very erratically and slowly right around bumper-level), during their most amorous times of year they seem…

Anthrax Argyropygus

This half-inch black fly with half-black, half-transparent wings is a bee fly (family Bombyllidae), which, of course, mimics a bee. Some members of this family look even more like bees, with striped orange and black fuzzy abdomens; many seem to have followed this theme of black and/or silver “fur” instead. You can tell this is…

Longlegged Fly

Technically, “longlegged fly” describes the family, not this individual species, but that’s the common name for Condylostylus longicornis. This small, iridescent green fly with red eyes is tiny — about 5mm (I need a better measurement, I describe everything as 5mm) — and fast! This individual really, really wanted to sit on that plant, but…

Palpada Pusilla

Another fly with no common name. Do I make a “hoverfly” page which will eventually have 6,000+ photos in it, or a separate page for each species of hoverfly? Decisions, decisions. Meet Palpada pusilla, a fly in the family Syrphidae. Syrphid flies, (or flower flies, or hoverflies), are generally beneficial pollinators as adults, eating primarily…

Drain Fly

These tiny “pests” — really harmless, nonbiting flies, but “pests” because they have no shame whatsoever in invading human bathrooms — seek water and dampness in drains, sewers, bathrooms, kitchens, and other human places. They can be annoying en masse — but I think they’re gorgeous singly and up close! Its wings are iridescent, look!…

Root Maggot Fly

This is one of those species where the scientific web sites say almost nothing, other than to argue over semantics and exactly who named the insect last, and the pest control sites have a lot to say. (What can I say, nobody seems to want to write a PhD thesis on small, feces-eating flies.) As…

Black Horse Fly

Anyone who has owned livestock will know this inch-long black fighter jet of a fly. Black horse flies (Tabanus atratus) are huge, loud, and persistent attackers of mammals in the females’ quest to get a blood meal in order to reproduce. They fear no swatter. A million years ago, I worked at a wolf sanctuary,…

Stilt Legged Fly

Grallipeza nebulosa is a species of stilt-legged fly from the family Micropezidae. These little guys are notable for their “dancing” — they can often be seen running back and forth, waving their brightly marked forelegs around. The tiny white feet are visible even at a distance to the human eye. There is not a lot…