Richardiid Fly

March 28th, 2011 - 5:35 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 2 Comments

6mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

I’m pretty sure this fly is a species in the family Richardiidae.

Dorsolateral view

It was really concentrating on mopping up whatever that blob is, allowing me to get several shots from various angles.

Dorsal view

Reference:

Diptera of Costa Rica and the New World tropics
by Manuel A. Zumbado and Fernando Zeledón

Blow Fly

November 8th, 2010 - 7:33 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

January 28, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I like the detail in this crop from the first image below. You can even see some pollen grains on and around the foreleg.

I’m pretty sure this is a blow fly, not unlike the common blue bottle fly.

Side View

Dorsolateral View

Mating Wasp Mimics

October 26th, 2010 - 5:28 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

January 28, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Normal disclaimers apply (flies are difficult to identify), but these mating flies might be a Systropus species.

Did you think they might be wasps? They are almost certainly wasp mimics.

Don’t be fooled by what appears to be an extra wing on the one to the right. That’s just a trick of the camera.

A Caterpillar to Avoid

October 22nd, 2010 - 9:31 PM | Filed under Easter Eggs, Featured Photos | 3 Comments

January 28, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I found a couple of these large caterpillars very near to each other. First the one above and then the one below. I believe they are a species of Automeris.

With those spines and colors, it’s pretty obvious they are to be avoided. Each one of those spines is like a little hypodermic needle bearing venom.

Here are some closeups.

Head

Spiny cluster

And here’s a particularly intimidating display.

Back off!

So what would mess with this spiny critter? I discovered while reviewing photos of the latter caterpillar that there was a small fly up to no good. Sorry for the photo quality. These are extreme crops.

Fly approaching

Fly feeding

I’m pretty sure that’s a biting midge in the family Ceratopogonidae. Some, like this one, will feed on the blood of other insects. I actually found a reference and image of one feeding on a related caterpillar.

Neotropical Ceratopogonidae (Diptera: Insecta) By Art Borkent, Gustavo R. Spinelli (Google Books link)

Fly with a Humpback

October 18th, 2010 - 6:56 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 4 Comments

January 28, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I just couldn’t pass up this interesting looking fly. Flies are a difficult order, and I quickly gave up on narrowing down any sort of id.

Handsome Mosquito

September 20th, 2010 - 8:53 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 2 Comments

January 26, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Who knew a mosquito could be so attractive? Looks like a male based on those plumose antennae.

Dagger Fly with Prey

September 11th, 2010 - 10:50 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

Awhile back, Alex Wild posted some shots of dagger flies. I commented at the time that I had recently seen and photographed the flies, but didn’t know what they were. Thanks, Alex, for saving me the effort of figuring out what I photographed here.

May 22, 2010 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

I can’t make out what it has captured, a beetle maybe?

Resigned Parasitized Caterpillar

September 8th, 2010 - 8:47 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

September 5, 2010 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

This caterpillar from a nearby park with head held low seems resigned to its fate as a parasitoid host. OK, I know that’s a normal position — allow me to anthropomorphise a bit.

You can see some white eggs on its back. I assume a tachinid fly left those, placing them close enough to the head that they couldn’t be removed.

In this next image, you can see there are also some already hatched eggs, sealing this little guy’s doom.

Closeup showing hatched eggs

I know tachinid fly larvae have breathing tubes that pierce the host’s skin. Could those long fibers amongst the eggs be those breathing tubes? I wouldn’t think they would be so long. I’m more inclined to think those are just bits of debris that maybe got stuck to whatever holds the eggs in place.

Black Fly with White Bands on Wings

August 7th, 2010 - 11:00 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

January 26, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Flies are a difficult order for me so I won’t pretend to know for sure what family this one belongs to. My guess would be a bee fly.

Jumping Spider Subdues Carpenter Ant

July 3rd, 2010 - 12:11 PM | Filed under Easter Eggs, Featured Photos | 1 Comment

June 16, 2009 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

I found this pair on a viburnum in my backyard. What looks like a male Phidippus whitmani has subdued what I assume is a winged reproductive carpenter ant.

I didn’t notice while I was taking pictures, but while reviewing them I saw that a little fly arrived to share in the spoils.

Fly arriving

Fly on ant