Order Diptera (Flies) in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve

Order Diptera Characteristics: There are approximately 17,000 species of flies, the majority of which are beneficial to humans. Often confused with bees and wasps, flies have only one pair of wings. The second pair is reduced to knob-like organs called halters which act as gyroscopes for stabilization during flight. Flies have large prominent eyes, very short antennae, and sponging or piercing/sucking mouthparts. In comparison, bees and wasps have two pair of wings, less prominent eyes, long antennae, and chewing mouthparts.

Fly metamorphosis includes four stages: egg, larva (maggot), pupa, adult. Natural enemies include other flies, spiders, wasps, fungi, fish, and birds. No less than 46 species in 23 different families have been photographed in the Smith Preserve.

Interactions in the Smith Preserve: Various species of flies are scavengers, decomposers, pollinators, parasites, predators and disease vectors. Fly species are found interacting with other organisms throughout the Smith Preserve; they are an important part of the food web.

 

Family
Species Name
Common Name
Agromyzidae
Calycomyza malvae
Asilidae
Unknown
Bibionidae
Plecia nearctica
Bombyliidae
Neodiplocampta miranda
Bombyliidae
Xenox tigrinus
Bombyliidae
Chrysanthrax cypris
Calliphoridae
Calliphora vomitoria
Calliphoridae
Chrysomya megacephala
Calliphoridae
Unknown
Cecidomyiidae
Unknown
Cecidomyiidae
Unknown
Cecidomyiidae
Unknown
Cecidomyiidae
Unknown
Cecidomyiidae ?
Unknown
Cecidomyiidae ?
Unknown
Ceratopogonidae
Atrichopogon sp.
Ceratopogonidae
Atrichopogon sp. or Dasyhelea sp.
Ceratopogonidae
Unknown Species
Ceratopogonidae
Unknown Species
Chironomidae
Chironomus sp.
Chironomidae
Goeldichironomus carus
Chironomidae
Unknown
Chironomidae
Unknown
Chironomidae
Unknown
Chironomidae
Unknown
Chloropidae
Unknown
Chloropidae
Unknown
Chloropidae
Unknown
Chloropidae
Unknown
Chloropidae
Unknown
Chloropidae
Unknown
Chloropidae
Eribolus sp.
Conopidae
Zodion sp.
Culicidae
Aedes vexans
Culicidae
Ochlerotatus taeni
Culicidae
Unknown
Dolichopodidae
Condylostylus longicornis
Dolichopodidae
Condylostylus mundus
Dolichopodidae
Condylostylus sp.
Dolichopodidae
Unknown
Dolichopodidiae
Pelastoneurus umbripictus ?
Dolichopodidiae
Chrysotus simulans
Dolichopodidate
Unknown
Dolichopodidate
Unknown
Dolichopodidate
Unknown
Dolichopodidate
Unknown
Dolichopodidate
Unknown
Drosophilidae
Zaprionus indianus
Drosophilidae
Unknown
Ephydridae
Hydrellia sp. ?
Ephydridae
Typopsilopa nigra ?
Ephydridae
Unknown
Ephydridae
Unknown
Ephydridae
Unknown
Muscidae
Atherigona sp.
Muscidae
Unknown
Muscidae
Unknown
Muscidae
Unknown
Muscidae
Unknown
Muscidae
Unknown
Muscidae
Unknown
Phoridae
Megaselia sp.
Phoridae
Unknown
Sarcophagidae
Sarcophaga sp.
Sarcophagidae
Unknown
Sciaridae
Unknown
Sciaridae
Unknown
Sciaridae
Unknown
Sciaridae
Unknown
Sciaridae
Unknown
Sciaridae
Unknown
Stratiomyidae
Hermetia illucens
Syrphidae
Dioprosopa clavata
Syrphidae
Ocyptamus parvicornis
Syrphidae
Palpada agrorum
Syrphidae
Palpada vinetorum
Tachinidae
Chaetogaedia sp.
Tachinidae
Unknown
Tachinidae
Unknown
Tephritoidae
Dioxyna picciola
Tephritoidae
Unknown
Tipulidae
Unknown
Ulidiidae
Euxesta stigmatias Loew
Ulidiidae
Chaetopsis sp.

Family Agromyzidae

Calycomyza malvae .... Leaf-Mining Fly

A female leaf-mining fly uses the stiffened tip of her abdomen to insert eggs between the upper and lower surfaces of host plant leaves. After an egg hatches, the larva begins feeding. It lies sideways as it feeds, creating a characteristic translucent trail or “mine."

Adult females also feed by puncturing leaves with the ovipositor before feeding on plant juices.

Most species of leaf-mining flies are easily identified on the basis of their distinctive mines and their host plants. The host plant in this photograph is Sida cordifolia (Llima / Flannel Weed), a member of the Mallow Family.

The species that created the mines in these photographs was identified on January 6, 2014 by Charley Eisman, Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

An adult fly is approximately 2 mm long. Presently, none have been photographed in the Smith Preserve.

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Family Asilidae

Unknown Species .... Robber Fly

There are approximately 1,000 species of Family Asilidae in North America. Each one has a "bearded" face, a hollow region on top of its head between its large eyes, and a sharp beak. Robber flies are swift predators.

As shown in these photographs, a robber fly perches on foliage or on the ground, cocks its head, and waits for insects to approach to within two meters or less of its perch. Then, it dashes out, grasps the prey with its legs, and injects digestive chemicals with its beak. Next, the robber fly sucks out the prey's tissues. The "beard" keeps prey from injuring its eyes during the capture.

Robber flies attack a variety of insects: wasps, bees, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and other flies. They usually attack insects as large or larger than themselves.

Robber fly eggs are laid in soil, cracks of dead wood, or in plant tissues. The larvae live in soil and decaying wood and feed on larvae of other insects.

 

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Family Bibionidae

Plecia nearctica .... Lovebug / March Fly

Lovebugs are native to west Louisiana, South Texas, and Central America. The larvae feed on decaying vegetation in open grasslands and along the edges of disturbed woods. For many years, lovebugs were restricted to their native lands. But once the interstate highway system was developed and grass was planted along margins of the roadway, the insects began migrating. With the clearing of lands for pastures and lawns, they continued to migrate, arriving in South Florida in the 1970s. Today, lovebugs are very common in this region.

Adults feed on nectar and probably pollinate flowers. The sexes are easily distinguished. As can be seen in these photographs, males have bulbous eyes that take up most of their head. During and after mating, pairs remain coupled for up to 48 hours, even while flying. After mating, the females burrow into the soil and lay eggs. There are two generations each year, one in May and the other in September. At these two times, swarms of lovebugs fly along highways for several weeks, apparently attracted to chemicals in the exhaust of gasoline and diesel engines. Once a car hits a swam, the insect blood can corrode the car's finish.

Birds, lizards, and dragonflies avoid eating these insects. One can only wonder what chemical is in the lovebug's blood that corrodes car finish and repels potential predators.

 

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Family Bombyliidae

Neodiplocampta miranda .... Bee Fly

On April 8, 2014, several members of this species were hovering like bees close to the ground in the sandy scrub area of the Smith Preserve. Periodically, they would land either on the sand or on low vegetation. Each fly was estimated to be about 1 cm long.

On April 8, 2014, this species was identified from these photographs by Ken Wolgemuth, Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department. On April 12, 2014, the identification was confirmed by Joel Kits, another Contributing Editor.

As can be seen in these photographs, this bee fly is covered with many long hairs. Its abdomen is orange with black markings, and it has dark patterns on the wings.

As with all members of Family Bombyliidae, larvae of this species are parasitic on the immature stages of other insects; adults sip nectar from flowers.

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Family Bombyliidae

Xenox tigrinus .... Tiger Bee Fly

Like many species of bee flies, this species has many long hairs covering its body and ornate dark patterns on its wings. The species name, tigrinus refers to the wing pattern of the tiger bee fly.

This large fly (about 12 to 15 mm long) was hovering like a bee above small rocks in the Smith Preserve. It had landed when this photograph was taken. Note its large wrap-around eyes.

The larval stage of this fly is a parasitoid of large carpenter bees. Tiger bee flies are most common in the eastern North America.

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Family Bombyliidae

Chrysanthrax cypris .... Chrysanthrax Bee Fly

On March 15, 2016, this fly was photographed as it rested on dry vegetation in the northeast scrub of the Smith Preserve. These photographs were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On March 15, 2016, the fly was identified as a member of Family Bombliidae by Ken Wolgemuth, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

After learning its family name, the webmaster of this site was able to identify it as Chrysanthrax cypris. This species has very large reddish-brown eyes, yellow-orange hairs behind the head, short, dark brown hairs on the thorax, and orange/tan hairs on the abdomen. Wings are bicolored, clear on the outer half of the wing and dark brown on the basal half.

The larval stage of this species is an endoparasite of other insects.

On April 27, 2016, John S. Ascher, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net> confirmed the species name.

 

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Family Calliphoridae

Calliphora vomitoria .... Blue Bottle Fly

Members of Family Calliphoridae are commonly known as blow flies, carrion flies, bottle flies, or cluster flies. There are 1,100 known species. Blue bottle flies are found in most areas of the world. Adults feed on nectar of odoriferous flowers, decaying meat, garbage, and feces. Those that feed on nectar are pollinators of the flowers.

In these photographs, blue bottle flies were on raccoon scat. They were feeding and/or laying eggs.

After blue bottle fly larvae hatch from eggs, the white maggots feed on the decomposing matter. After a few days of gorging themselves, they are fully grown. Next, they crawl away, burrow into soil, and pupate into brown cocoons. After two or three weeks, adults emerge and mate.

Calliphora vomitoria is slightly larger than the common housefly. The abdomen is bright metallic blue with black markings, the eyes are red, the wings are transparent, and the body and legs are covered with black bristle-like hairs.

Members of this species fly in packs in order to efficiently detect food. Once an individual detects food, it produces a pheromone to alert others.

Besides color, blue bottle flies are easily recognized by their loud buzzing sound.

The male fly at left was photographed on January 28, 2015 as it was resting on a flower petal of a Asimina reticulata (Netted Pawpaw) in the Smith Preserve.

On December 16, 2017, the genus was identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net> . This individual may or may not be the same species as the one above. Members of the genus, Chrysoma are commonly called "Hairy Maggot Blow Flies." This name describes the fact that maggots have each body segment possessing a median row of fleshy tubercles that give the maggot a hairy appearance. These are not true hairs.

 

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Family Calliphoridae

Chrysomya megacephala.... Oriental Latrine Fly

The oriental latrine fly is a warm -weather fly that infests corpses soon after death, so it can be used in the field of forensics to estimate the time of death.

As seen in this photograph, this male adult fly was resting on a dried leaf near the filter marsh in the Smith Preserve on December 23, 2013. Its large red eyes are very distinctive, as is its box-shaped body and metallic coloration. Its turquoise thorax has dark markings and the turquoise abdomen has three lateral black stripes. Its gena (cheeks) are yellow.

Females lay as many as 200 to 300 eggs in human feces, meat or fish. The adult lifespan is about 7 days. Flies will invade open wounds and feed on the tissue.

The individual in this photograph was identified by Ben Coulter, Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology on December 9, 2014.

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Family Calliphoridae

Unknown Species.... Blow Fly

On January 28, 2015, this blow fly was spotted in the Smith Preserve as it was perched on the leaf of a Citrus sp. (Citrus Tree.) This image was sent to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology for identification.

On August 10, 2015, the fly was identified as a member of Family Calliphoridae by "v belov," a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

On December 12, 2017, the fly was determined to belong to Subfamily Chrysomylinae by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

According to <BugGuide.net>, there are 40 species in 7 genera in Subfamily Chrysomylinae in our area.

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Family Cecidomyiidae

Unknown Species .... Gall Midge / Wood Midge

On April 6, 2015, this 1.5 mm long midge was captured in a yellow bowl trap placed overnight beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree in the Smith Preserve. This photograph was created using photomicroscopy.

The family identification of this dipteran was made from this photograph on April 10, 2015 by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Members of Family Cecidomyiidae are usually 1 to 5 mm long. There are more than 6000 described species in 783 genera worldwide. This particular species fits the description of most species in the family with its long legs, long antenna with segments having whorls of hairs, and wings with reduced longitudinal venation.

The larvae of most species of Cecidomyiids feed on plant tissues, creating abnormal plant growths (galls); others feed on decaying matter, or are predators or parasites.

Parasitoids of these midges include hymenopteran members of families Aphelinidae, Braconidae, Torymidae, and Trichogrammatidae.

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Family Cecidomyiidae

Unknown Species .... Gall Midge / Wood Midge

On January 23, 2017, this ~.5 mm BL midge was living in leaf litter beneath a Psychotria nervosa (Shinyleaf Wild Coffee) Bush and a Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak) tree in the eastern part of the Smith Preserve, just south of the pond.

The midge was separated from the litter with a Berlese funnel and photographs were created by photomicroscopy. Images were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. On 31 December, 2017, the specimen was identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

As was stated for the specimen shown above, members of Family Cecidomyiidae are usually 1 to 5 mm long. This one is smaller than most. There are more than 6000 described species in 783 genera worldwide. This particular species fits the description of most species in the family with its long legs, antenna with segments having whorls of hairs, and wings with reduced longitudinal venation.

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Family Cecidomyiidae

Unknown Species .... Gall Midge / Wood Midge Larva

On January 26, 2016, this 1 mm larva was captured in a sweep net used in low, dry vegetation along the eastern gopher tortoise fence in the Smith Preserve. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. The first image is a dorsal view and the second image is a ventral view. The posterior end of the larva is on the right in both photographs.

On January 30, 2016, the larva was identified as a species belonging to Family Cecidomyiidae by Pierre-Marc Brousseau, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>. He stated, "It is a Cecidomyiidae. We see the distinctive sclerotized plate of last instar Cecidomyiidae on the other picture." Pierre was referring to the ventral picture as "the other picture."

On February 3, 2016, the family name was confirmed by Natalie Hernandez, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>. She explained, "I see the spatula! Cecidomyiidae. That little black plate towards the head is very distinct for this family, and so is this orangish coloration."

The larvae of most species of Cecidomyiids feed on plant tissues, creating abnormal plant growths (galls); others feed on decaying matter, or are predators or parasites.

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Family Cecidomyiidae

Unknown Species .... Gall Midge / Wood Midge Larva

On January 13, 2017, as the Conservancy of SW Florida Science volunteer team was removing exotics from the southeast corner of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave N, several members of the team found nesting material made of Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) fibers tangled in Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine Grape) and Simiax bona-nox (Catbrier) vines. The nesting material was removed and placed in a Berlese funnel to isolate any arthropods living in the fibers. This 1 mm long fly larva was one of those arthropods.

Photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology

On February 23, 2017, the family was identified by Pierre-Marc Brousseau, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>.

As can been seen in the close-up, this specimen has a very distinctive head.

As was stated earlier for this family, the larvae of most species of Cecidomyiids feed on plant tissues, creating abnormal plant growths (galls); others feed on decaying matter, or are predators or parasites. Since this individual was living in saw palmetto fibers, it was likely feeding on decaying matter or on one or more of the many mites, springtails, and insects that were also living in the fibers.

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Family Cecidomyiidae ?

Unknown Species .... Gall Midge / Wood Midge Larvae

On December 19, 2014, four 1-mm long unidentified arthropods were collected in a leaf litter sample under a citrus tree in the hammock in the northeast corner of the Smith Preserve. They were separated from the litter using a Berlese funnel. Photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

On January 15, 2015, the arthropods were identified as dipterans by "v belov," Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

After learning the identification, the webmaster began reading online references and found descriptions in Larvae of Insects, Part II, Alvah Peterson, 1951, p. 318-319. She hypothesized these are the larval form of a species of Family Platypezidae, the flat-footed flies.

Members of Family Platypezidae inhabit damp woodlands where larvae eat fungi. A flat-footed fly larva has a fairly unsclerotized head with short tubercle-like antennae. They have 11 body segments and anterior and posterior pairs of spiracles, used for breathing. The larvae have flattened bodies with lateral processes and dorsal bristles on all but 3 segments. The photograph below has been labeled to show some of these structures.

Adult flies are 1.5 to 6 mm long. Feeding adults fly or run about in an erratic way over leaves, stopping to ingest honeydew. Males and females are usually different colors. Before mating, adult males form aerial swarms. Females are attracted to particular males in the swarms.

On January 26, 2015, after additional photographs showing another dorsal view, a ventral view, and a close-up of the head had been posted at <BugGuide.net>, photographs were analyzed by Pierre Marc Brousseau, Contributor to <BugGuide.net> and currently doing his PH.D on soil arthropods at the University of Quebec.

Brousseau stated, "Not conclusive. Some fly larvae have some distinctive caracteristics underside, but unfortunately, it is not the case here. On the positive side, it eliminate all larvae with caracteristic underside... My best guest so far would be a Cecidomyiidae, but I would need a closer look at the head to be sure. I don't think that it is a Platypezidae as they have fleshy processes which don't seems to be present here."

Larvae of most gall midges feed within plant tissue, creating abnormal plant growths called galls. Because these fly larvae were found in leaf litter, the identification does not seem to fit, but Brousseau is an expert and this webmaster is not.

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Family Cecidomyiidae ?

Unknown Species .... Gall Midge / Wood Midge Larvae

On March 4, 2015, this ~.8 mm long fly maggot was living in leaf litter beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the center of the Smith Preserve.

It was separated from the litter with a Berlese funnel and these photographs, created by photomicroscopy, were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>. Image 1 is a lateral view; image 2 is a dorsal view; image 3 is a ventral view.

The webmaster suspected it was a fly maggot. On February 3, 2018, Pierre-Marc Brousseau identified the family by stating, "Yes. Probably a Cecidomyiida." Brousseau is a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>.

As was stated earlier for this family, the larvae of most species of Cecidomyiids feed on plant tissues, creating abnormal plant growths (galls); others feed on decaying matter, or are predators or parasites. Since this individual was living in leaf litter, it was likely feeding on decaying matter or on one or more of the many mites, ants, thrips, or springtails that were also living in the leaf litter sample.

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Family Ceratopogonidae

Atrichopogon sp..... Biting Midge/ No-See-Um

On December 30, 2015, this 1.4 mm long fly was caught with a sweep net in brush that was growing along the gopher tortoise fence South of Smith Preserve Way. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 23, 2016, the fly was identified as a female Atrichopogon sp. by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

Members of Family Ceratopogonidae are small flies (1 to 4 mm). Females of most species have mouth parts that allow them to suck blood from a host animal.

Atrichopogon spp. are ectoparasites, feeding on the blood of larger insects like katydids and dragonflies. They are not a problem to humans.

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Family Ceratopogonidae

Atrichopogon sp. or Dasyhelea sp. .... Biting Midge/ No-See-Um

On December 30, 2015, this 1 mm long midge was captured in a sweep net collection obtained in tall grass and other vegetation bordering the northern edge of the Smith Preserve pond.

These images were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 19, 2016, the midge was identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

As stated for the midge above, members of Family Ceratopogonidae are small flies (1 to 4 mm). Females of most species have mouth parts that allow them to suck blood from a host animal.

Atrichopogon is an ectoparasite of a larger insect. Dasyhelea feeds exclusively on nectar. Based on the identification of the individual as being one of these two species, this particular midge would not be a no-see-um that would have a human host.

Larvae of all species in Family Ceratopogonidae are found in damp locations (e.g., under bark, mud, rotten wood, stream and pond margins, water-holding plants.

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Family Ceratopogonidae

Unknown Species .... Biting Midge/ No-See-Um

On March 22, 2016, this 1 mm long female fly was extracted from leaf litter that had accumulated under a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) bush in the eastern portion of the Smith Preserve, just north of Smith Preserve Way. The fly was separated from the litter with a Berlese funnel, and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

Note the similarity of this fly to the two members of the same family above. Based on these similarities, the webmaster suspected it was another member of Family Ceratopogonida. That identification was confirmed on January 13, 2018 by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

Note: this specimen is the same size as the one above, but this one is covered by many more hairs and the wings are darker in color.

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Family Ceratopogonidae

Unknown Species .... Biting Midge/ No-See-Um

On January 26, 2016, this 1 mm long fly was captured with a sweep net in low vegetation growing under a cluster of Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) in the southeast quadrant of the Smith Preserve.

This photograph was created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 28, 2016, its family identification was made by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

According to <BugGuide.net, there are 603 species in our area . Members lack ocelli. They resemble midges (Chironomidae) but are stouter, have shorter legs, broader wings, and a well-developed proboscis. Depending on the species, habitat includes salt and freshwater marshes, forests, and edges of ponds and streams. Depending on the species, adult females suck blood from other insects, reptiles, and mammals and feed on flower nectar and other sugar sources. Some species transmit disease. Males feed only on sugar. Depending on the species, larvae develop in moist areas in sand, mud, decaying vegetation in marshes, ponds and streams, or under rotting tree bark.

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Family Chironomidae

Chironomus sp. .... Midge

Worldwide, there are several thousand recognized species of chironomids. Chironomids, aka midges, are frequently mistaken for members of Family Culicidae (mosquitoes). One way to tell the difference is when a midge is at rest, its front legs are held up and forward as shown in this photograph. At rest, mosquitoes often lift their hind legs.

Adult midges are 1 to 18 mm long with narrow bodies and long legs. They do not bite and they do not have scales on their wings like mosquitoes. The adult stage lasts a week or less. Adults rarely eat, instead they spend the time looking for a mate. Males have feathery antennae they use to detect the high-pitched sounds produced by the wingbeats of females. The individual in this photograph is a female.

Depending on the species, females lay eggs in gelatinous packets that float on the water surface, sink to the bottom, or stick to submerged plants. After a larva hatches from its egg, it is planktonic and floats in the water. After the first molt it descends to the bottom. At some point, some species construct tiny tubes through which they draw streams of water to collect microscopic debris and organisms for food. Inside these tubes, the larvae pupate.

Most midge larvae are aquatic, with many living in benthic freshwater habitats. Most species have tan or brown larvae. The larvae in these photographs were bright red when captured in a dipnet sample at the Christopher B. Smith pond on November 20, 2013. The red color is caused by hemoglobin in the hemolymph (blood). Hemoglobin allows larvae to survive in low-oxygen habitats. Note: After preserving these captured larvae in alcohol, most of the color was lost.

In this photograph, some body structures are identified. The head capsule is sclerotized (hardened into plates). The two black dots on the head capsule are its simple eyes. Other black structures on the head capsule are its chewing mouthparts. The fleshy, unsegmented parapods are in pairs and have claws.

The larval stage is the longest stage in a midge's life. In some species, it may last up to three years.

Chironomonids are some of the most diverse and abundant macroinvertebrates in aquatic ecosystems. The larvae harvest an enormous amount of energy from detritus and provide an important food source for fish. Adults are eaten by birds and dragonflies.

The adult and larval midges shown above may or may not be the same species.

 

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Family Chironomidae

Goeldichironomus carus.... Midge

On March 11, 2015, this fly was photographed while it was resting on a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) leaf.

On March 22, 2015, it was identified from the photograph as a "Nematocera" (Non-Brachycera) fly by John S. Ascher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

"Nematocera" is not a taxonomic name, but it is derived from the Greek word "nemato" meaning "thread" and "ceras", meaning "horn."

The most distinctive feature of the nematocerans (long-horned flies) is the 6 or more segmented antenna. Like this one, most flies in the group have slender bodies and long, narrow wings.

On May 12, 2015, the species was identified by John F. Carr, another Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

As seen in this close-up image, three black marks on the side of the thorax are distinctive to this species. The range of this fly is mostly tropical and subtropical. In Florida, adults are known to emerge in large masses from water where larvae have been floating and drifting on vegetation in small standing water bodies.

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Family Chironomidae

Unknown Species .... Midge

On December 30, 2015, this 2.5 mm long midge was living in tall vegetation growing along the northern edge of the Smith Preserve Pond. It was captured with other invertebrates in a sweep net. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 23, 2016, the midge was identified as a male member of Family Chironomidae, Subfamily Chironominae by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

Mr. Carr stated, "Looks like one of the basal genera of Chironomini, i.e. excluding the Chironomus and Harnischia genus groups. I don't know what to make of the combination of characters: 13 segmented flagellum, reduced to absent inferior and superior volsellae, long gonostyle, no ventral appendages under genitalia, and pale color."

The feather-like structures on the antennae are present, but very difficult to see in the first two photographs. The third photograph is a darkened enlargement of the first photograph. The structures appear as tan-colored wisps.

As with other chironomids, this individual has reduced mouthparts, lacks mandibles, and is non-biting.

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Family Chironomidae

Unknown Species .... Midge

On January 26, 2016, this 3.25 mm long chironomid was captured in a sweep net sample, obtained in low, dry brush that was growing along the eastern gopher tortoise fence in the Smith Preserve.

Two lateral view images and one dorsal view image were created using photomicroscopy. The images were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 1, 2016, the family name was confirmed by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net.

Note: this species is larger than the species shown above. Also, when compared to the one above, it is a greener color, and has a thicker abdomen, shorter antennae, a different shape to its eyes, and a different pattern of markings on its thorax.

 

 

 

 

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Family Chironomidae

Unknown Species .... Midge

On January 26, 2016, this 1 mm long fly was captured with a sweep net in low vegetation growing beneath Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pines) in the southeast quadrant of the Christopher B. Smith Preserve.

This photograph was created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 28, 2016, the fly was identified as a chironomid midge. This particular individual is a female. It lacks the feathery antennae that males have.

There are 1,050 species in our area and ~7,300 species worldwide. Chironomids resemble mosquitoes but do not bite and their wings lack scales.

 

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Family Chironomidae

Unknown Species .... Midge

On December 30, 2015, this 1 mm long fly was caught with a sweep net in low, dry vegetation growing next to the gopher tortoise fence in the northeastern quadrant of Smith Preserve.

Note its distinctive dark head, thorax, and the posterior half of its abdomen. The first segments of the abdomen are white and nearly transparent. The wings are also transparent.

This photograph was created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>.

This webmaster thought the individual was a male chironomid based on its body shape and feather-like antennae. Confirmation was made on February 11, 2016 by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. He further identified it as a member of Subfamily Orthocladiinae.

According to <BugGuide.net>, The suborder is found worldwide and is more diverse in colder regions. "Identification past subfamily is normally impossible from photos and almost impossible with specimens under a microscope."

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Family Chloropidae

Unknown Species .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

This tiny frit fly was captured in a sweep net sample of vegetation growing adjacent to the Smith Preserve filter marsh on November 26, 2013.

On February 22, 2014, the fly was identified from these photographs as a member of Family Chloropidae, Subfamily Oscinellinae by Terry Wheeler. Contributor to <bugguide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

This family of flies is common in grassy areas. The larvae of most species are herbivores, eating grass stems. However, there are exceptions. Some species are scavengers, parasites, and predators. Some are called "eye gnats" because they are attracted to eyes, where they can be vectors of diseases like yaws and pink eye.

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Family Chloropidae

Unknown Species .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

In November 2012, this 1.75 mm Frit Fly was captured with a sweep net in grasses in the Smith Preserve. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

It was suspected by this webmaster that this fly was a member of Family Chloropidae. On December 17, 2016, that identification was confirmed by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

This specimen resembles the frit fly above, with what appear to be only slight differences. The one above has a darker colored ventral abdomen and the dorsal abdomen appears to have stripes, while this one appears to have a light colored ventral abdomen and no stripes on its dorsal abdomen. This individual may or may not be the same species as the one above. That is yet to be determined.

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Family Chloropidae

Unknown Species .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

Like the frit fly described above, this 2.5 mm specimen was caught in a sweep net. The net was used to capture arthropods living on the grasses and sedges in the seasonal, dry marsh in the Smith Preserve on December 8, 2014.

On December 16, 2014, the fly was identified from these photographs by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Worldwide, there are nearly 3000 described species and 200 genera in this family. Most, like this one are small, appear shiny due to having so few hairs, and are most often caught in grasses.

On April 25, 2015, it was determined from these photographs that the fly belonged to Subfamily Oscinellinae by Brad Barnd, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

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Family Chloropidae

Unknown Species .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

On January 6, 2016, this 2 mm long fly was captured in a yellow bowl trap placed just south of Smith Preserve Way in the western quadrant of the Smith Preserve. Photographs, created using photomicrography, were submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 7, 2016, the family identification was made by Brad Barnd, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

This species is different from the two shown above in that it has a very distinctive color pattern and has many setae (hairs).

The larvae of most species in this family feed on grass stems. Some species are scavengers, parasites, or predators. Some are pollinators of orchids or Araceae flowers.

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Family Chloropidae

Unknown Species .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

On December 30, 2015, this 2.1 mm long frit fly was captured in a sweep net sample taken in dry vegetation along the eastern tortoise fence, just South of Smith Preserve Way.

These photographs were created using photomicrography and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. On January 17, 2016, the fly was identified by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

Frit flies can be distinguished from other small flies by their small mouthparts and short antennae with rounded third segments and bare aristae (slender bristle). The image shown here is an enlargement of the head of this particular individual. Segments of the antennae are labeled.

Worldwide, there are nearly 3000 described species and 200 genera in this family. Adult flies usually feed on plant juices, but there are exceptions. Larvae vary greatly in their food of choice, depending on the species. In order to determine many of the species, examination of the genitalia of the male, and rarely the female, is necessary.

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Family Chloropidae

Unknown Species .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

In November 2012, this 1.5 mm long fly was captured with a sweep net near the Smith Preserve Marsh.

These photographs were created in 2016 using photomicroscopy, and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On March 23, 2016, the family was confirmed by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

As with the many other frit flies that are shown on this website, larvae usually feed on grass stems, but some species are scavengers, parasites, or predators.

This individual was smaller than the other species posted at this website and it has very distinctive antenna.

The species is yet to be identified.

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Family Chloropidae

Eribolus sp. .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

In November 2012, this 2 mm long fly was captured in a sweep net collection in vegetation just south of the Smith Preserve Pond.

Based on the morphology of the antennae, the webmaster suspected it was a frit fly.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for confirmation of the family and possible species identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On April 9, 2016, the family name was confirmed by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

At first glance, this particular species looks like the species shown immediately above, but the base of an antenna of this one is orange, while the one above is black. Also, this one has brown and yellow patterned legs, while the one above has only yellow legs. This one appears to be more elongate than the one above.

On July 11, 2017, the genus was identified by Brad Barnd, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. He stated, "Pretty sure this is Eribolus. Maybe E. longulus.

 

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Family Chloropidae

Unknown Species .... Frit Fly / Grass Fly

On December 30, 2015, this 2 mm long fly was captured with a sweep net in low, dry vegetation that was growing along the eastern gopher tortoise fence north of Smith Preserve Way.

These photographs (Image 1: Lateral view, Image 2: Dorsal View) were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 16, 2016, the fly's family name, Chloropidae, and its subfamily name, Chloropinae, were identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>. Identification of the subfamily is based on wing veins.

Grass fly larvae are mainly herbivores that develop inside the vegetative and reproductive parts of grasses, sedges, and other flowering monocots. Some larvae are saprophytes that live in rotting or dying wood or in dead parts of herbaceous plants damaged by other insects.

Adults may assemble in large numbers on trunks and branches of trees and shrubs. Because adults are attracted to secretions such as tears and dung, they are known to be mechanical agents of disease transmission.

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Family Conopidae

Zodion sp. .... Thick-Headed Fly

Family Conopidae is represented by about 70 species in North America.

They are most frequently seen sipping nectar from flowers. The fly in these photographs was sucking nectar from Balduina augustifolia (Yellow Buttons). Note the very long proboscis used as a straw. A long proboscis is a characteristic common to all members of the family. Thick-headed flies also have heads slightly broader than their thoraxes, and the antennae are usually long, project forward, and have 3-segments. The 3rd segment has an arista (bristle).

Larvae of all members of the family are internal parasites of insects. Host insects vary with the species of broad-headed fly, and include wasps, bees, ants, cockroaches, crickets, and some other species of flies.

Some members of the family have gruesome techniques for laying their eggs. The females of some species chase hosts in flight. Their abdomens have modified structures that work like can openers to pry open the segments of the host abdomen. In some species, the female jabs a harpoon-shaped egg with a stiff barbed tip into the host's flesh. The method for parasitizing the host and the host species are unknown for the fly shown in these photographs.

The identification of the fly as a member of Family Conopidae was determined from this photograph by Bill Dean, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State Entomology Department, on November 21, 2014. He suggested that the genus is Zodion. The species was confirmed on May 17, 2015 by John S. Ascher, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

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Family Culicidae

Aedes vexans .... Inland Floodwater Mosquito

There are 80 species of mosquitoes in Florida. All spend the egg, larval, and pupal stages in water. Eggs are laid singly or in floating rafts on the water's surface. When the egg hatches, the larval mosquito, called a "wriggler", emerges and orients its body with its head pointed down. Its abdominal breathing tube is pointed up like a snorkel at the water's surface. Wrigglers eat organic matter and microscopic organisms. The wriggler eventually pupates and later an adult mosquito emerges and flies away.

Some adult mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, while others suck the blood of birds, amphibians, and mammals (including people.) In those species that suck blood, only the females are involved. The mouthparts of females include a long sheath that houses a hypodermic with two channels. Using this hypodermic, females inject saliva with an anti-clotting agent and withdraw blood from the host. Females need blood proteins in order to produce eggs.

Males feed on nectar and plant juices and lack the sharp mouthparts necessary to pierce skin. They use their feathery antennae to detect the whine of the wingbeats of females of their own species. Once mated, females lay their eggs, and another generation begins.

In some regions of the world, mosquito saliva may contain organisms that cause malaria and other diseases. Most diseases carried by mosquitoes do not occur in Florida, but there have been cases of Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

Photographs shown here are of a female trying to suck blood through the photographer's jeans in the Smith Preserve on March 19, 2012.

The species was identified on May 10, 2015 by JBurger, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Aedes vexans is a common pest mosquito and a known vector of Dirofilaria immitis (dog heartworm), Myxomatosis (a deadly rabbit virus disease), and Bunyaviridae (a tahyna virus that affects humans.) The species name "vexans" is derived from the Latin word "vexan", meaning "annoying." Adult females are most easily recognized by the sideways "B" shaped markings on each tergite of the abdomen.

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Family Culicidae

Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus .... Black Saltmarsh Mosquito

On April 28, 2014, the mosquito shown was attempting to withdraw blood from the webmaster in the scrub area of the Smith Preserve.

On May 2, 2015, it was identified by Sean McCann, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. McCann said, "Looks like Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus, blown in from the coast." [Note: The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is bordered on its eastern edge by a mangrove estuary, so it did not have far to be "blown in."]

Adults of this species have an overall dark appearance. The sides as well as the abdominal segments have white streaks. Its proboscis has a distinct white ring at its middle. Palps are white-tipped. Hind tarsomers have pale rings basally.

Larvae live in saltmarshes and mangrove habitats. They are filter feeders. Both males and females feed on nectar, but females also take bloodmeals from warm-blooded hosts. This species is a very common nuisance mosquito in coastal areas especially in the Southeast. It has been associated with certain diseases including encephalitis, EEE virus (Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus), Dirofilaria immitis (dog heartworm) and others.

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Family Culicidae

Unknown Species .... Mosquito Wiggler

On January 11, 2017, this 6.5 mm long mosquito wiggler was captured in a net at the Smith Preserve Marsh by Leif Johnson, a Conservancy of SW FL scientist.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. The1st image is a dorsal view, the 2nd is a ventral view, and the 3rd and 4th are lateral views.

This webmaster suspects that the genus is Culex because it has a siphon (breathing tube) present with pecten and more than two hair tufts beyond the pecten (see image at right). Pecten are a comb-like row of spicules borne posterolaterally on the basal part of the siphon.

As was stated earlier, 80 species of mosquitoes are known in Florida. Thirty-three of these are pests to man or domestic animals. Thirteen are capable of transmitting pathogens that cause disease in humans and animals. Several species of Culex mosquito adults are vectors for diseases: West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, filariasis, and avian malaria. This specimen has yet to be identified by <BugGuide.net>, so Culex has not been confirmed as the correct genus.

Once a mosquito egg hatches, a wiggler lives in water 7 to 14 days depending on the water temperature. During this time, it must come to the surface to obtain oxygen through the siphon. During growth, a wiggler molts four times. After the 4th molt, it becomes a pupa. The pupa does not eat. At the end of this stage, the pupal skin splits and the adult mosquito emerges.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Condylostylus longicornis .... Longlegged Fly

On December 13, 2016, this 5 mm long male longlegged fly (and many others like it) was captured in a yellow bowl trap that had been placed overnight in an open scrub area near 14th Ave. N and a private residence.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 3, 2017, the species name and the gender of this individual were identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. As shown in these photographs, this longlegged fly is a metallic green and blue color.

According to <BugGuide.net>, the following are other characteristics of the species: "Wing without markings except for faint cloud near tip R2+3. Legs mostly black (or appearing black in photographs), but fore tibia of male and fore and mid tibiae of female yellow to yellow-brown. Male fore tarsus with segments decreasing in length towards tip. Hair pattern on legs is distinctive."

Its range includes California, North Carolina to Paraguay, and Polynesia. It is possibly the most widespread species in genus Condylostylus.

The species is a predator of small mites, aphids and flea hoppers, bark lice, thrips, other flies, silverfish, small caterpillars, and other insects. Individuals also eat nectar from flowers.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Condylostylus mundus .... Longlegged Fly

In North America, there are at least 1,275 species in Family Dolichopodidae. Family members include small to minute flies that are usually metallic green, blue, copper, or bronze. They have bulging and widely separated eyes and legs with three rows of evenly spaced short black spines.

Condylostyllus mundus males are metallic blue; females are metallic green. The wings are transparent and all sections of the legs are dark. This species of long-legged fly is found from North Carolina south to Florida, the West Indies, and Brazil.

Below are green long-legged flies photographed in the Smith Preserve. One, or more of these individuals, may be a female Condylostyllus mundus, or they may be a different species.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Unknown Species .... Longlegged Fly

As stated above, there are at least 1,275 species in Family Dolichopodidae in North America. Family members include small to minute flies that are usually metallic green, blue, copper, or bronze. They have bulging and widely separated eyes and legs with three rows of evenly spaced short black spines.

Male genitalia are large and conspicuous, usually folded forward under the abdomen. In females the end of the abdomen is pointed. The legs of males are often ornamented with flag-like patches of hairs they use in courtship, thus the origin of the family's name. Dolichopodidae translates to "decorated foot."

The three individuals in these photographs appear to be females.

Long-legged flies are predators of mites, aphids and smaller flies, including mosquito larvae.

They are often seen at the Smith Preserve darting quickly across leaves.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Condylostylus sp. .... Longlegged Fly

On December 13, 2016, this 5.5 mm long female longlegged fly was captured in a yellow bowl trap that had been left overnight in a sandy area of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave. N and a private residence.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>.

On January 7, 2017, the family was identified by John S. Ascher, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. Later that day, the genus was identified by John F. Carr, another Contributing Editor.

According to <BugGuide.net>, Genus Condylostylus is found in temperate North America, the Neotropics, Pacific Islands, and Africa.

"Larvae develop in wet to dry soil and pupate in cocoons made up of soil particles cemented together. Adults mate after elaborate and unique behavior, involving the males displaying their legs to the female."

Also according to <BugGuide.net>, "different species are commonly found together, even on adjacent leaves." [Note from the webmaster. This fact is significant since many male Condylostylus longicornis individuals and this individual (and others like it) were all captured in the same yellow bowl trap on the same day. Additionally, several unidentified striped members of Family Dolichopdidae representing two other species ( 1 and 2 ) were also captured in that bowl. In all there were 53 Dolichopodids representing at least 4 species captured together.]

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Family Dolichopodidae

Pelastoneurus umbripictus ? .... Longlegged Fly

On November 28, 2014, this small fly was photographed as it was resting on the top surface of a leaf of Colocasia esculenta (Wild Taro) that was growing adjacent to the pond in the Smith Preserve.

On December 14, 2014, the fly was identified as possibly Pelastonerus umbripictus by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <Bugguide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Chrysotus simulans .... Longlegged Fly

On December 8, 2014, this 1.5 mm long fly was captured with a sweep net in dry vegetation in the Smith Preserve. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for confirmation of family identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On April 12, 2016, the family was confirmed by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. He identified the individual as a male, determined it belonged to Subfamily Diaphorinae, and identified the species.

<BugGuide.net> states for this species: "Femora pale, fore tarsi of male ornamented, fore tibia with black ring." The range is from Virginia and Florida.

 

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Family Dolichopodidae

Unknown Species .... Longlegged Fly

The fly shown here was identified on November 25, 2014 from these photographs by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Entomology Department. He stated that it is probably a member of Subfamily Diaphorinae.

This metallic copper-colored fly was walking on the bottom surface of a leaf of Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) on April 21, 2014. For scale, the green structure in the bottom left corner of the second photograph is the curved edge of the oak leaf.

This fly was likely looking for small insects to eat. For more information about Family Dolichopodidae, scroll to the three examples above.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Unknown Species .... Longlegged Fly

On April 6, 2015, this 2.5 mm long male fly was trapped in a yellow bowl trap beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree.

On April 9, 2015, it was identified as possibly Subfamily Diaphorinae by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

According to <BugGuide.net>, the sizes of the subfamily vary, but the most common species are 2 to 3 mm long.

 

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Family Dolichopodidae

Unknown Species .... Longlegged Fly

On December 13, 2016, the 2.5 mm long male fly shown here was captured in a yellow bowl trap that had been left overnight in an open sandy area of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave N and a private residence.

These photographs were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 5, 2017, the family was identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

Note the similarities of this specimen to the one above. Both are 2.5 mm long, have 6 brown stripes on the dorsal portion of the abdomen, have a pale colored ventral abdomen, and have a dark thorax. However, the individual above has bright red eyes, while this one has dark wine-colored eyes. Also, the one above appears to have more elongated wings than this one.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Unknown Species .... Longlegged Fly

On December 13, 2016, this 3.5 mm long female fly was captured in the same yellow bowl trap as the male fly shown above. The trap had been left overnight in an open sandy area of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave N and a private residence.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>.

On January 7, 2017, the identify of the family name was made by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

Note: At first glance, this fly and the one above look similar. But they are different lengths, and the black stripes on the dorsal surface of the abdomen on this one number 5, not 6. Also, the strips are darker and much broader than those on the specimen above.

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Family Dolichopodidae

Unknown Species .... Longlegged Fly

In November 2012, this 2.5 mm fly was captured in a sweep net used in the scrub area of the Smith Preserve just south of the pond.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification confirmation to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. This webmaster thought the species was a longlegged fly based on its distinctive leg length. On April 9, 2016, the family was confirmed by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

As stated earlier for other species in this family, long-legged flies are predators of mites, aphids and smaller flies, including mosquito larvae.

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Family Drosophilidae

Zaprionus indianus .... African Fig Fly

On March 4, 2015, this ~ 3.5 mm long fruit fly, and many others like it, was spotted eating Averrhoa carambola (Starfruit) in the Smith Preserve.

The species, native to Africa and introduced to Florida (about 2005) and South America, lacks a sharp ovipositor and tends to attack damaged and overripe fruit. This photograph supports that statement. The starfruit on which this fly was found had fallen from the tree, split open, and was beginning to ferment.

The species is easily recognized by its red eyes and two distinctive white longitudinal stripes bordered by black stripes that extend from the antenna to the tip of the thorax. An additional set of stripes are located along the thorax laterally to the edge of the wing base.

Zaprionus indianus is known for being a serious pest of figs in Brazil.

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Family Drosophilidae

Unknown Species .... Fruit Fly

On March 4, 2015, these fruit flies, along with Africian fig flies described above, were spotted covering Averrhoa carambola (Starfruit) that had fallen from a tree in the Smith Preserve.

On March 15, 2015, the family was confirmed from the first image by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

There are more than 4,000 species in 75 genera in Family Drosophilidae. All have similarities in the veins of their wings. Most have three frontal bristles on each side of the head. One bristle points forward and the other two point rearward.

Most species of Drosophilidae are considered a nuisance rather than a pest because they breed in rotting material. However, in natural environments they are a common vector in propagating acetic acid bacteria.

 

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Family Ephydridae

Hydrellia sp. ? .... Shore Fly

On December 8. 2014, this 2.5 mm fly was caught with a sweep net in the dry seasonal marsh at the Smith Preserve.

The first two photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 10, 2016, the fly was identified as possibly Hydrellia sp. by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. Carr thought it might be Hydrellia based on its superficial appearance. He asked if there is a white spot right above the antennae.

The additional third and fourth photographs below were taken, and there appears not to be a white spot, but there are lighter spots at the base of each antenna.

There are about 430 species in 70 genera of shore flies in our area. The size range is 2.5 to 9 mm. An identifying characteristic of Family Ephydridae is that the face sometimes bulges anteriorly.

A few species of Hydrellia live in plant stems or mine leaves of aquatic plants.

 

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Family Ephydridae

Typopsilopa nigra ? .... Shore Fly

On December 30, 2015, this 2.6 mm long fly was captured in a sweep net, used in low vegetation growing along the eastern gopher tortoise fence, south of Smith Preserve Way.

This photograph was created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On April 11, 2016, the family was identified and a tentative species identification was made by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. Carr stated, "Possibly Typopsilopa nigra. The pale band is an artifact; the fly is probably shining black except tarsi."

According to <BugGuide.net>, this species is the only Typopsilopa with the tarsi mostly yellow. Most species in the genus have at most the first segment yellow.

The range of Typopsilopa nigra is from the southern US to northern South America.

According to the 2001 Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, Vol. 103, pgs. 89-97, the immature stages of this fly are "a secondary consumer of damaged stems of wetland monocots."

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Family Ephydridae

Unknown Species .... Shore Fly

On December 30, 2015, this 2.6 mm long fly was captured in a sweep net, used in dry brush growing along the eastern gopher tortoise fence, south of Smith Preserve Way.

This image was created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On August 15, 2017, the specimen was identified as a member of Family Ephydridae by Matthias Buck, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

As noted above, an identifying characteristic of Family Ephydridae is that the face sometimes bulges anteriorly. Note the yellow tarsi of this individual resemble those of the individual immediately above.

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Family Ephydridae

Unknown Species .... Shore Fly

Shore flies are tiny flies found near water. This individual, only 2 mm long, was captured with a sweep net in the dry, seasonal marsh, dominated by grasses and sedges, at the Smith Preserve on December 8, 2014.

On December 14, 2014, the fly was identified by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology, as a member of Family Ephydridae and perhaps Subfamily Discomyzinae.

There are 1,800 species in the family and 120 species of the subfamily that have been described.

Most Ephydrids are .9 to 7 mm long and are black or gray. Shore fly larvae eat a variety of foods. For many shore flies, algae and diatoms are an important part of their diet.

 

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Family Ephydridae

Unknown Species .... Shore Fly

As explained above, shore flies are tiny flies found near water. This individual, only 3 mm long, was captured in the same sweep net sample as the fly described above. The collection was made in the dry, seasonal marsh, dominated by grasses and sedges, at the Smith Preserve on December 8, 2014.

On December 16, 2014, John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology, identified this fly from this photograph as Family Ephydridae. He suspected it is Subfamily Hydrellinae.

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Family Muscidae

Atherigona sp. .... Shoot Fly

On December 8, 2014, this 3 mm Muscid was captured in a sweep net sample collected in the dry, seasonal pond, dominated by grasses and sedges.

On December 13, 2014, it was identified from these photographs as a member of Family Muscidae by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <Bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Adult Muscid flies usually live 15 to 25 days and are most active in the daytime. Over a 3 to 4 day period, females may lay 500 eggs in batches of 75 to 150 eggs/batch.

On July 30, 2015, the fly was identified as Atherigona sp. by Martin Hauser, Contributing Editor to <Bugguide.net>.

Notes at <Bugguide.net> state there are over 200 species in this genus worldwide. It is an Old World genus with two species introduced into the new world. Members of the genus breed in decaying plant or animal matter.

 

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Family Muscidae

Unknown Species .... Unknown Common Name

In November 2012, this 4.25 mm long fly was captured with a sweep net south of the Smith Preserve pond.

Photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On April 9, 2016, the family was identified by John F. Carr, a contributing editor to <BugGuide.net>.

In addition to identifying the family, Carr stated, "Reminds me of the less common, mostly tropical Coenosiinae [Subfamily] like Tetramerinx rufitibia and Bithoracochaeta."

According to <BugGuide.net>, species in this subfamily typically have 3 postsutural dorsocentral bristles, while most other Muscidae have 4.

The photograph below that shows these bristles has been sent to help in further identification.

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Family Muscidae

Unknown Species .... Unknown Common Name

There are nearly 4,500 described species in this family. More than 700 of these live in North America. All genera have common characteristics in the structure of their antennae and wing venation. Antennae are 3-segmented and aristate. An arista is a bristle that is often plumose (feather-like) in Family Muscidae.

Family members have a variety of food preferences. Some adults are predators, while others feed on blood, dead organisms, plants, or animal excrement. Some are attracted to sugar, sweat, tears, and blood. Larvae spend most of their development in decaying plant matter or manure.

It is suspected that both flies shown here are the same species. The first fly, shown in the first two photographs was quite small and resting on the top of a saw palmetto frond on April 23, 2014. On November 26, 2014, it was identified from these photographs as probably a predatory species of Family Muscidae, by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

The fly below, shown in four photographs, was spotted on an oak leaf on April 14, 2014. It was removed for microscopic photography and measured at 3 mm in body length. On November 28, 2014, it was also identified as a member of Family Muscidae, by John F. Carr.

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Family Muscidae

Unknown Species .... Unknown Common Name

On February 27, 2017, this small fly was photographed as it rested on the bottom of a leaf of Helianthemum nashii (Nash's Rock Rose) in the Smith Preserve around 9:30 AM.

Although this individual was not captured to measure, it appeared to be larger than the species shown above. The markings on the thorax and abdomen also appear to be slightly different.

It was identified as a member of Family Muscidae by John F. Carr on March 2, 2017.

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Family Muscidae

Unknown Species .... Unknown Common Name

On December 30, 2015, this 2.5 mm long fly was caught in a sweep net used in low brush that was growing along the eastern gopher tortoise fence, just south of Smith Preserve Way. Photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 23, 2016, the family was identified by Brad Barnd, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

As was stated above for an earlier described member of this family, all genera in the family have common characteristics in the structure of their antennae and wing venation. As shown in the photograph at right (enlarged below), antennae are 3-segmented and aristate. An arista is a bristle that is often plumose (feather-like) in Family Muscidae. In this particular species, the arista is not plumose.

Adult muscid flies live 15 to 25 days and are most active during daylight hours.

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Family Muscidae

Unknown Species .... Unknown Common Name

On December 8, 2014, this 5.5 mm fly was captured with a sweep net in tall grasses that were growing near the pond in the Smith Preserve.

These images were created using photomicroscopy and sent to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology for identification.

On February 22, 2016, the family was identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

Note: this species is larger than those shown above.

 

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Family Muscidae

Unknown Species .... Unknown Common Name

On December 23, 2013, this fly was spotted as it was being eaten by a spider on the leaf of a plant near the filter marsh at the Smith Preserve.

On December 10, 2014, the fly was identified from this photograph as probably a Muscidae by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <Bugguide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Under the fly is the carcass of an ant.

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Family Phoridae

Megaselia sp. .... Phorid Fly / Scuttle Fly

On December 15, 2015, this 2mm long fly was captured in a yellow bowl trap placed in sand adjacent to Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) in the western portion of the Smith Preserve.

Photographs, created using photomicrography, were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Entomology Department. On December 26, 2015, Bill Dean, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net> identified the family.

Family Phoridae consists of small, hump-backed flies that resemble fruit flies. Unlike most flies, to escape, they often run rapidly along a surface instead of flying away. This behavior is the origin of one of its common names, "scuttle fly." There are ~4,000 species in 230 genera in this family.

Phorids are found throughout the world, but the greatest number of species are in the tropics. Depending on the species, adults feed on nectar, honeydew, liquid from fresh carrion and dung, or on body fluids of living beetle larvae and pupae. Others prey on small insects. The most common food is decaying organic matter.

Larval habitat varies within the family. Some species are found in nests of social insects (ants and bees), others are in aquatic habitats. Some live in organic material (ie. dung, carrion, insect frass, and dead snails).

On August 29, 2017, the specimen was identified as Megaselia sp. and the gender was identified as a female, by Brian V. Brown, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>.

According to <BugGuide.net>, there are ~190 described species and many undescribed species are in our area. Nearly half of the world's described Phoridae belong to genus Megaselia.

Larvae live in moist decaying organic material. Many species are scavengers, while some are herbivores, predators, parasites, or parastoids.

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Family Phoridae

Unknown Species .... Phorid Fly / Scuttle Fly

On January 26, 2016, this 1 mm long fly was captured with a sweep net in low vegetation growing along the eastern fence of the Smith Preserve. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.Net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 29, 2016, the family was identified by Brad Barnd, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

There are 376 species of phorids in North America. Adults are 1 to 7 mm in length with hump backs and dark eyes. As shown in the first photograph, the hind femora are enlarged and flattened. This particular individual was covered with hairs and had a "furry" appearance. As shown in the second photograph, the antenna look like large curved "eyebrows." The eyes were large, occupying most of the head.

According to <BugGuide.net>, most species are probably specialized scavengers, predators, parasitoids, and true parasites. Some are herbivores and fungus-feeders.

 

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Family Sarcophagidae

Sarcophaga sp. .... Flesh Fly

Sarcophaga sp. is recognized by its conspicuous scarlet eyes and scarlet-tipped abdomen. The eyes are farther apart in females than in males. The individual in these photographs is a female. Both sexes are usually grayish with lengthwise black stripes on their thorax and light square dots on their abdomen. Females are usually larger than males. It is nearly impossible to identify the exact species of Sarcophaga from its outward appearance. Usually it must be identified by the microscopic examination of the male's genitalia.

Most members of this species are associated with carrion. The larvae typically eat decaying meat. However some species eat the bacteria and small organisms living on the meat.

Many species are nuisance pests and vectors of pathogens; others are parasitoids of tree-pest caterpillars.

 

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Family Sarcophagidae

Unknown Species .... Flesh Fly

On December 13, 2016, this 5.5 mm long fly was captured in a yellow bowl trap that had been left overnight in a sandy area of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave N and a private residence.

These photographs (dorsal, ventral, and lateral views) were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 3, 2017 the family was identified by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

Members of the family are generally gray with three black thoracic stripes. Of note is that the species shown here is much smaller than the species above.

According to <BugGuide.net>, there are 400 species in 49 genera in our area and ~3,100 species in 170 genera worldwide.

Also according to <BugGuide.net> the larvae of "many species are necrophagous [ie. feed on corpses or carrion], but some feed in mammalian tissues or parasitize other arthropods (bees, cicadas, termites, grasshoppers/locusts, millipedes), earthworms, or snails. Adults feed on various sugar-containing materials such as nectar, sap, fruit juices and honeydew."

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Family Sciaridae

Unknown Species.... Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat

The family name Sciaridae comes from the Greek word "skiaros" which means "dark; shady," and refers to this gnat's wing coloration. More than 2.500 species have been described worldwide. All have slender bodies, long legs and antennae with 8 to 16 segments.

Adults live only about 5 days, time enough to mate and for females to lay eggs. Adults live in foliage and are usually found in moist environments. Larvae live on fungi and decaying vegetation or under bark.

This particular female gnat was 2.5 mm long and captured in a sweep net in the southwest portion of a mostly dry seasonal marsh at the Smith Preserve on December 8, 2014. The marsh is filled with grasses and sedges.

The photographs shown here were taken using a microscope. The two images show the same insect with different structures in focus. The gnat was identified from the 1st image on December 10, 2014 by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <Bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

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Family Sciaridae

Unknown Species.... Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat

As explained above, the family name Sciaridae comes from the Greek word "skiaros" which means "dark; shady," and refers to this gnat's wing coloration.

More than 2,500 species have been described worldwide. All have slender bodies, long legs and antennae with 8 to 16 segments. The Sciarids are one of the least studied of the large Dipteran families, probably because the flies are so small and difficult to identify. This one was 2 mm in body length and was identified from this photograph as probably a Sciarid on December 14, 2014 by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <Bugguide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

The individual shown here was captured in the same sweep net sample as the Sciarid shown above. Note the differences in the structures of the two species. The one shown here has longer antenna and the abdomen is longer and thinner than the one above. Additionally, the color patterns of the two abdomen are quite different.

Claspers at the end of the abdomen indicate that this is a male.

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Family Sciaridae

Unknown Species.... Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat

On February 10, 2016, this 1.1 mm long gnat was living in leaf litter in an oak hammock in the northwest quadrant of the Christopher B. Smith Preserve, north of Smith Preserve Way. It was extracted from the litter with a Berlese funnel.

Upon examination, the specimen seemed to have many of the same characteristics as the gnat above, so it was thought to be a Sciarid.

Photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for verification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On March 16, 2016, confirmation of the family was made by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

 

Note: this dark-winged gnat species is only 1.1 mm long , while the species above is nearly twice that length. Also the wings of this species are not as dark as the species above. Sciarids are one of the least studied of the large Dipteran families, probably because the flies are so small and difficult to identify.

Claspers at the end of the abdomen indicate that this specimen is a male.

 

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Family Sciaridae

Unknown Species.... Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat

On March 2, 2016 this 2 mm long gnat was trapped in a yellow bowl, placed beneath a saw palmetto north of Smith Preserve Way and left overnight.

The gnat, thought by the webmaster to be a Sciarid, was photographed and the image was sent for identification confirmation to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On April 15, 2016, the family was confirmed by Brad Barnd, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

This Sciarid is very similar looking to the one immediately above, but the body length of this one is nearly twice as long as the other. Also the wings of this one are not as dark. This one has a distinctive white stripe on the lateral portion of its abdomen, and the femur on all of its legs are very light colored.

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Family Sciaridae

Unknown Species.... Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat

On December 13, 2016, this 2.2 mm long female gnat was captured in a pitfall trap placed in the Smith Preserve overnight in sand and dried grass near 14th Ave. N and a private residence.

The webmaster suspected it is another species in Family Sciaridae. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent to <BugGuide.net> for identification confirmation. On December 23, 2016, the family name was confirmed by John F. Carr, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

This insect is approximately the same size as the one immediately above, and the femurs of all of its legs are light colored like the one above, but this individual has much shorter antennae and the abdomen is much broader than the one above.

According to <BugGuide.net>, "The larvae [of this family] are white, slender, legless, with a black head and smooth semi-transparent skin revealing digestive tract contents. Identification of adults at the species level is based primarily upon males which must be cleared with NaOH or KOH and mounted on slides. There is currently (2014) no way for a non-expert to identify most specimens even to genus."

Sciarid larvae feed on fungi, decaying vegetation, plant roots, and rotten wood and are mainly found in soil and plant litter. They play an important roll in turning litter into soil. Adults ingest only liquids and live only long enough to mate and produce eggs, which is about five days.

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Family Sciaridae

Unknown Species.... Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat

In December 2016, this female fungus gnat was found in the Smith Preserve.

It's large size (4 mm length) distinguishes this individual from the other adult fungus gnat species shown above that range from 1.1 mm to 2.5 mm in length.

As stated above, according to <BugGuide.net>, more than 2,500 species have been described worldwide. All have slender bodies, long legs and antennae with 8 to 16 segments. The Sciarids are one of the least studied of the large Dipteran families, probably because the flies are so small and difficult to identify.

"The larvae [of this family] are white, slender, legless, with a black head and smooth semi-transparent skin revealing digestive tract contents. Identification of adults at the species level is based primarily upon males which must be cleared with NaOH or KOH and mounted on slides. There is currently (2014) no way for a non-expert to identify most specimens even to genus."

Images shown here were created using photomicroscopy.

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Family Stratiomyidae

Hermetia illucens .... Black Soldier Fly

Hermetia illucens is found throughout the eastern US. As can be seen in the left photograph, the black soldier fly mimics a wasp in appearance. This 16 mm long fly is very close in size, color, and appearance to a mud dauber wasp. As shown, the black soldier fly folds its wings over its abdomen when at rest. This is atypical of most flies. Also the fly's hind tarsi are pale like the wasp's, and the fly has two small transparent "windows" in its abdomen that make it look like it has a narrow wasp-like waist.

As shown in the second photograph, the fly's antennae are elongated and wasp-like. Note: this individual lost most of one of its antennae before this photograph was taken. The other antenna is intact and the photograph shows that the third segment is annulated (having ringlike segments or bands.)

Black soldier flies live near decaying piles of lawn clippings, compost heaps, and other decaying matter. Females lay their eggs in crevices or on surfaces near decaying manure, compost, and carrion. Eggs hatch in 4 days and the larvae begin eating the decomposing material. Larvae eventually pupate and adults emerge.

Adult soldier flies have no functioning mouthparts; they spend their short five to eight-day lifespan searching for mates and reproducing.

 

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Family Syrphidae

Dioprosopa clavata .... Thread-Waisted Wasp Mimic

Dioprosopa clavata is 6.5 to 12.4 mm in length; a wing is 4.9 to 8.8 mm long. The individual in the first two photographs was flying at some distance in a heavily wooded area of the Smith Preserve. The photographs were taken with a telephoto lens, and the fly's measurements were impossible to determine.

One way to identify this fly from other syrphid thread-waisted wasp mimics is that while most have an all black scutellum, this fly has yellow bands.

Larvae of this species are known to feed on aphids. When these photographs were taken, this adult was feeding on nectar and/or pollen from flowers of a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak). The fly in the first two photographs was identified on April 6, 2014 from the photographs by Kelsey J.R.P. Byers, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

The fly at left was identified on April 30, 2014 from the photograph by Ken Wolgemuth, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

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Family Syrphidae

Ocyptamus parvicornis .... Slender Flower Fly

On January 6, 2013, this species was confirmed from these photographs by Kelsey J. R. P. Byers, contributing editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

When first observed, the fly was hovering near a Citrus tree, draped with Smilax auriculata (Earleaf Greenbrier / Catbrier). It cautiously approached and landed on a flower of the Smilax.

The wings of this fly are dark along the leading edge with a clear area along the trailing edge near the wing tip. The reddish-orange abdomen is very slender and the eyes are bright reddish-orange. This individual is a male. That can be determined because the eyes touch.

There are over 322 species in Genus Ocyptamus. They are endemic to the New World. Larvae in this genus are predators of aphids and scales.

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Family Syrphidae

Palpada agrorum. .... Flower Fly / Bee Mimic

This fly was photographed on March 6, 2012 on Balduina angustifolia (Yellow Buttons). On February 9, 2015, it was identified from these photographs by Kelsey J.R.P. Byers, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

These flies resemble honeybees, but can be distinguished from them because the fly has larger eyes and a single pair of wings. In addition, these flies do not bite or sting. Adult flies are pollinators.

This species is brightly colored with its abdomen marked with yellow and black stripes. Individuals are hairy.

A larva of a syrphid fly is called a rat-tailed maggot because of an extendible tube-like siphon at the posterior end that reaches from the larva to the water's surface and acts like a snorkel, allowing the submerged larva to breathe air. Flower fly larvae scavenge in polluted water or wet carcases.

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Family Syrphidae

Palpada vinetorum .... Flower Fly / Bee Mimic

On November 20, 2014, this fly was photographed while it visited a flower of Balduina angustifolia (Yellow Buttons).

On February 5, 2015, it was identified from these photographs by Bill Dean, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. The identification was confirmed by Martin Hauser, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

This species is typically 11 to 14 mm in body length, and robust. As shown in these photographs, the body is yellowish-brown with gray bands on the thorax. Legs are red or yellow, with the dark femora. The hind tibiae are thick and arc-shaped. Wings are a smoky color.

This species pollinates flowers and is a particularly common pollinator of the non-native, very invasive Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian Pepper)

 

 

 

 

 

The fly at left was on Balduina angustifolia (Yellow Buttons) on March 6, 2012 when the photograph was taken. On February 9, 2015, it was identified from this photograph by Kelsey J. R. P. Byers, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Larvae are aquatic and feed on organic matter they filter from the water.

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Family Tachinidae

Chaetogaedia sp. .... Tachinid Fly

Over 1,300 species of tachinid flies are known in North America. The Family Tachinidae may be the largest fly family in Florida. Members of Family Tachinidae are almost exclusively internal parasitoids of other insects, especially caterpillars. Parasitoids, unlike parasites, eventually kill the host organism.

Tachinids are robust with very spiny abdomens. As adults, they are often seen feeding on flower nectar. Male flies spend much of the time locating and mating with females. Females spend a lot of time making sure their offspring are placed in the best environment for survival.

Many female tachinids lay their eggs or larvae directly on the host insect or forcibly inject the eggs or larvae into the host. Some tachinid females "broadcast" hundreds of tiny eggs onto vegetation, hoping that when the eggs hatch, they will be consumed with the foliage by a host caterpillar. In some species, the eggs are laid on vegetation, the eggs hatch, and the larvae actively stalk the host. Once the larvae are inside the host, they eat its tissue. Eventually the larvae emerge from the host and pupate. By the time they emerge, most of the host's tissues are gone, and the host dies. Some host-specific tachinid flies have been used in biological control of harmful insects.

The fly shown above was resting on the frond of Acrostichum danaeifolium (Leather Fern) at the edge of the pond in the Smith Preserve on November 21, 2012. On January 26, 2015, its identity as a tachinid was confirmed by "v belov", Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. On February 19, 2015, the tachinid was identified as probably Chaetogaedia sp. from these photographs by Norm Woodley, a professional insect taxonomist that specializes in some groups of Diptera, and a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. There are 7 species of Chaetogaedia in our area. Their recorded hosts include at least 8 families of Lepidoptera.

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Family Tachinidae

Unknown Species .... Tachinid Fly

This fly was photographed on Heterotheca subaxillaris (Camphorweed) in the Smith Preserve on January 20, 2014. On January 25, 2015, it was identified from the first photograph as probably a tachinid by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

As was stated above, over 1,300 species of tachinid flies are known in North America. Family Tachinidae may be the largest fly family in Florida. Members of the family are almost exclusively internal parasitoids of other insects, especially caterpillars, but depending on the Tachinid species, hosts may include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some Tachinids are host-specific, while others parasitize several different host species.

Most female tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of the host. Upon hatching, larvae burrow into and feed on the internal organs of the host. Parasitoids, unlike parasites, eventually kill the host organism. Full-grown larvae leave the host, pupate nearby, and eventually emerge from the pupal casings as adults.

Adults feed on flowers and nectar from aphids and scale insects. As shown by these photographs, this female is feeding on pollen; some pollen grains are sticking to her body. As she visits other flowers, she will pollinate them.

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Family Tachinidae

Unknown Species .... Tachinid Fly Maggots

The tachinid fly maggots shown in these photographs were located inside a pod removed from Crotalaria pallida var. obovata (Smooth Rattlebox). Also inside the pod is the remains of a caterpillar. The sclerotized head of the caterpillar is present, as well as the rest of its integument. Next to the head is a hole in the integument.

It is surmised that the tachinid maggots were feeding on the internal organs of the caterpillar and had recently emerged from the hole in the caterpillar's integument. The maggots were likely about to pupate. There are several maggots visible in the first photograph. Also present in the first photograph are several beans from the pod.

Photographs 2 and 3 show close-ups of two of the maggots.

 

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Family Tephritoidae

Dioxyna picciola .... Fruit Fly

This 2.5 mm long female fruit fly was captured in a sweep net sample collected in the dry, marsh at the Smith Preserve on December 8, 2014. The marsh is dominated by grasses and sedges. On December 15, 2014, the fly was identified from this photograph by DocFrootFly, Contributor to <Bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

In a study described in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, Volume 98, 1996, "Life History and Description of Immature Stages of Dioxyna picciola California," by Headrick, Goeden, and Teerink, mated females of this species insert eggs into achenes (fruits that contain a single seed) of Coreopsis and Bidens. Once the larvae hatch, they mine the achenes and later feed on and pupate in the center of flower head. It is not known whether or not this is happening in the Smith Preserve, but both plant genera are represented in the Preserve, as can be seen by clicking on the genera names.

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Family Tephritoidae

Unknown Species .... Fruit Fly

This fly was identified as a member of Family Tephritoidea by John F. Carr (Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department), on November 30, 2013.

There are about 500 genera and 5,000 described species in this family. Many, like this one, have banded or pigmented wings.

Many species in the family are economically important. Some damage fruit and other crops, while other species are used as agents of biological control to reduce populations of pest weed species.

Adults have a short lifespan, some less that one week. Most fruit flies lay eggs in plant tissues.

The individual in this photograph was captured in a sweep net sample in vegetation adjacent to the pond in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve.

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Family Tipulidae

Unknown Species .... Crane Fly

Crane flies are often mistaken for giant mosquitoes and are sometimes referred to as "mosquito hawks." However, crane flies lack piercing/sucking mouthparts and are harmless. Worldwide, crane flies are the largest group of flies. In North America, there are 64 genera. In the United States, there are over 1,500 species. Florida has very few species (only several hundred) compared to areas that have cool, wet climates.

Individual adult crane flies have very long, skinny legs that can support them on the surface of water, but many are not aquatic. Sometimes an individual crane fly will have fewer than six legs because it has shed a few when stressed. Some species feed on nectar as adults; others eat nothing. Crane flies are attracted to lights at night.

Adult crane flies mate by attaching at their posterior ends. A female has a long ovipositor used for laying eggs. She does not sting.

The larvae of some species are terrestrial, while others are aquatic. Most larvae feed on fungi, decaying organic matter, or roots of grasses. Some species have predatory larvae. Crane fly larvae are a major food source for shorebirds.

 

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Family Ulidiidae

Euxesta stigmatias Loew .... Cornsilk Fly / Picture-Winged Fly

Members of Family Ulidiidae, the picture-winged flies, often have banded or spotted wings. There are 36 species of genus Euxesta in North America.

Euxesta stigmatias are small, with glossy metallic green bodies, vivid red eyes, and black and tan banded wings. As shown in these photographs, the anal end of each fly has a posterior extension.

The flies in these photographs were eating dung in the Smith Preserve. This species is saprophytic, which means it derives nourishment from dead or decaying organisms; adult flies eat a variety of foods.

Euxesta stigmatias completes its development from egg through pupa in 17 to 34 days. Adults live 36 to 52 days. As a result, there can be many overlapping generations in a year's time.

Each mature female deposits her 10 to 40 eggs as a group into damaged, cracked, or decomposing plant tissue. Eggs hatch in 28 to 42 hours. Larvae are long and cylindrical. In their final larval stage, they are 6.2 X 0.9 mm. This fly is commonly found in Florida's agricultural communities, and the larvae have a preference for sweet corn ears. Euxesta stigmatias larvae can destroy entire fields of corn if the fields have not been treated. The larvae feed on the cornsilk, cob, and developing kernels. Larvae pupate in the upper 2 cm of the soil or on corn silks.

Predators of cornsilk fly eggs and larvae include earwigs, mites, minute pirate bugs, lacewings, and some beetles. Assassin bugs and spiders eat adults.

 

 

 

 

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Family Ulidiidae

Chaetopsis sp. .... Picture-Winged Fly

This fly was photographed while it rested on a twig of a citrus tree in the Smith Preserve. Although the quality of the photographs are not good, certain characteristics of the fly are evident: red eyes, metallic green thorax, and 3- banded black and yellow wings. The abdomen appears to be black.

On March 17, 2014, this fly was identified from these photographs as a member of Family Ulidiidae by John F. Carr, Contributing Editor of <Bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department. On April 2, 2014, "v belov," another Contributing Editor suggested it is Chaetopsis sp.

The genus Chaetopsis contains seven species of picture-winged flies.

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© Photographs and text by Susan Leach Snyder (Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer), unless otherwise credited above.

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