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Long-legged Fly with Prey

~7mm | August 23, 2012 | Sebring, Fl, USA

It wasn’t until I reviewed this shot on my camera and saw the prey, that I realized long-legged flies (family Dolichopodidae) are predatory.

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Phorid Fly Attempting to Oviposit on a Leafcutter Ant

Leafcutter ants are a common sight in the Brazilian cerrado. I admit to being apathetic when it comes to photographing them. In order for me to turn my lens on them, something unusual generally has to be happening. In this case, I first noticed something odd occurring around one of the nest entrances. Looking closer, I could see the ants were being attacked by a small fly. I had read about that, but had never seen it personally. Intrigued, I figured I’d spend a few minutes shooting, even though I fully expected to end up with nothing usable. I was pleasantly surprised that one of the images managed to get both an ant and the fly in focus. read more

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Soldier Fly

11mm | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

The wing venation, patterned eyes, and even the horns on the scutellum suggest this is a soldier fly in the family Stratiomyidae. Many soldier flies bear a resemblance to wasps. This one kind of reminds me of a yellowjacket.

Reference:

Diptera of Costa Rica and the New World tropicsby Manuel A. Zumbado and Fernando Zeledón
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Fruit Fly

8mm | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I start with low expectations whenever I try to identify a fly. I’m happy if I get to family, but I think I got as far as genus on this one. This female fruit fly in the family Tephritidae might be an Anastrepha species.

Reference:

Diptera of Costa Rica and the New World tropicsby Manuel A. Zumbado and Fernando Zeledón
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Mystery Larvae

July 3, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

These mysterious larvae were found underneath a piece of wood. At first I didn’t notice them as my eyes fixed on other more obvious things. Then I spotted one or two and thought perhaps they were some sort of plant tubers as they didn’t move at all. Even after picking up a few and examining them I still wasn’t convinced it was animal and not vegetable. In the hand, they felt stout and unyielding. After some test shots so I could zoom in for a closer look I still wasn’t sure. In the end I gathered some together for the shot above. read more

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Two Flies Sharing a Meal

January 21, 2011 | Finca La Isla, Limon Province, Costa Rica

These two flies are sharing a meal.

I can easily identify the larger one as a micropezid.

Micropezid

I’m not sure about the smaller one though.

Smaller fly

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Another Micropezid

13mm (body) | January 21, 2011 | Finca La Isla, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Here’s another micropezid, waving its front legs like they are apt to do.

Frontal view

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Another Micropezid

January 21, 2011 | Finca La Isla, Limon Province, Costa Rica

This one looks a lot like the one I found ovipositing.

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Hammerhead Fly

7mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

I spotted this little fly on the underside of a large leaf. I was really thrilled to find something so unusual. I probably spent about a half hour chasing it around from one perch to another. Luckily, it always flew just a short distance.

Dorsal view

I had heard of antler flies before, and I figured this was a good candidate to be one. Initial internet searches using that phrase didn’t turn up anything though. On a whim I tried searching for “hammerhead fly” since that seemed like an obvious common name for this fly. That turned out to be a good guess, and I found lots of similar looking images of Richardia telescopica in the family Richardiidae. I’ve been unable to eliminate the possibility of similar looking species. If not for that uncertainty, I’d have made this into an identification challenge. read more

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Micropezid, ovipositing

8mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

While recently reviewing my shots of this fly in the family Micropezidae, I was surprised to find that I unknowingly got a shot of her laying an egg. Here’s another shot for comparison, where she has concealed her ovipositor beneath her abdomen.

Ovipositor concealed

Here’s a crop from the first photo, showing the ovipositor and the egg.

Ovipositor and egg

Everything I’ve read indicates that most larvae develop in decomposing matter, so it seems strange she would be placing an egg on a leaf surface. Perhaps this is  just a method of random distribution, and the egg just falls where it may on the ground below. read more

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