Home Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

            

True Flies (Order Diptera)

Despite their unpleasant reputation, most Piedmont North Carolina Diptera species members are harmless and possibly beneficial to humans, parasitizing or preying on other insects, though Horse Flies, frequently aggressive, leave bites with lasting effects.  "Diptera" means "two wings": these insects have two vestigial wings, called "halteres."  Halteres look like straight pins at a distance (seen most clearly in Crane Fly photos) but in fact consist of semi-coiled tissue that is connected with many nerves; they have a balancing function.  Most flies on this page are very tiny (less than inch long), and are probably not noticed by most people.

Classifications provided on this page have been checked for validity against the Integrated Taxonomic Information System except where noted.

Nematocera suborder: Long-horned Flies

These are so named because of the big, hairy antennae of the male flies.   They are a much smaller group than the Brachycera (Short-horned Flies), but much more disparate.  Apparently they have not been studied as much as the Brachycera:  Marshall (2006) thinks they will eventually be divided among more suborders.

Tipulid Crane Flies (Tipulinae subfamily, Tipulidae family, infraorder Tipulomorpha, Nematocera suborder)

The Nematocera suborder contains some of our most familiar biting flies, such as Mosquitoes and Midges, although the large Crane Flies are harmless to humans.

Dr. Chen W. Young, Associate Curator of the Section of Invertebrate Zoology of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA has provided the crane fly sex and species classifications for all of these flies except the second and third from the left in the top row (which I have added since then).

Female Crane Fly (Tipula genus, Beringotipula subgenus, borealis species), White Pines Natural Area, Chatham County, NC, 9/25/05. Tipulid Crane Fly, Durham, 4/10/06.  Probably the same species as the crane fly at left. Tipulid Crane Fly, same species.  Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 4/20/06 Mating Tipulid Crane flies, Durham, NC  4/2/07.  You can see the pin-cushion pin-like halteres on both: these are vestigial wings believed by some scientists to perform a balancing function.

 

Male Crane Fly (Tipula genus, Shummelia subgenus, probably herrmannia species), Mt. Mitchell State Park, NC, 7/9/05.  You can see a haltere (vestigial wing) near the right wing: it looks like a stalk with a pea-green club on the end. Closeup of a crane fly, showing the halteres (vestigial wings), which look like straight pins.  Durham, NC, 11/9/10.  Probably Tipula genus. Female Crane Fly (Tipula genus,  Platytipula subgenus, probably ultima species), Penny's Bend, Durham County, NC, 10/15/05.  This fly seemed different from the others in this row. Tipulid Crane Fly, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/17/07 Crane flies mating, two of hundreds that day.  Probably Tipula genus.

 

       
Crane Fly (Nephrotoma genus), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/30/06        

Limoniid Crane Fly (Limoniinae subfamily, Tipulidae family, infraorder Tipulomorpha, Nematocera suborder)

Female Crane Fly (Epiphragma solatrix, Limoniinae subfamily), Durham, 7/28/05.  Note the mottled wings.

Mosquitos (family Culicidae, infraorder Culicomorpha, Nematocera suborder)

The Common Mosquito is a well-known parasite that sometimes passes such diseases as West Nile Virus to humans.  On the other hand, the Elephant Mosquito is a predator which feeds on smaller arthropods.  Mosquitos experience complete metamorphosis, i.e., they go through a pupa stage in which they experience significant anatomical changes.

Common Mosquito (Genus Culex, tribe Culicini, subfamily Culicinae)

Adult mosquito emerging from pupa.  Durham, NC, 9/8/06.  The dark objects on the right are probably mosquito pupae.  These appeared in a puddle near my neighborhood swamp. Adult mosquito with foot on exuviae, Durham, NC, 9/8/06 Mosquito larvae, Durham, NC, 11/1/07.   This is just a subset of a ball of a very large group of such larvae.  They appeared in a large puddle at the edge of my neighborhood swamp. Mosquito larvae, Durham, 7/27/06.  Note how bubbles come from the tail ends of the larvae.

   
Mosquito, Durham, NC, 10/22/08 Mosquito pupa, still attached to its partially dismembered larval exoskeleton.  Jordan Lake (near NC-751 bridge), Chatham County, NC, 11/3/11    

Elephant Mosquito (Toxorhynchites rutilis, subfamily Toxorhynchitinae)

Some ID issues need to be resolved here.  Not sure of the ID of the two mosquitoes on the right, which seem to be members of Ochlerotatus genus.

 
Elephant Mosquito (Toxorhynchites rutilus), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 6/8/12 Elephant Mosquito (Toxorhynchites rutilus),  Durham, NC, 10/3/07, about 15 mm long not including legs.  Elephant Mosquito? (Toxorhynchites rutilus),  Cypress Gardens, Berkeley County, SC, 7/27/08.  ID uncertain: a mosquito looking very much like this large critter attacked my hand in a similar posture. Elephant Mosquito?, starting to bite, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 10/16/12  

Midges (family Chironomidae, infraorder Culicomorpha, Nematocera suborder)

Family identifications of these midges were based on Marshall (2006), p. 440

 
Male Midge, Durham, 10/28/05.  Both male midges and mosquitoes have prominent plumose antennae and do not bite. Male midge, Durham, NC, 5/17/08.  The plumose antennae are especially prominent here.  Male midge, Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC   10/1/06 Female Midge, Chatham County, NC, 4/4/06. Male Midge, Bath, NC, 2/17/06.

Fungus Gnats (Mycetophyllidae family, Bibionomorpha infraorder, Nematocera suborder)
           
Fungus gnat. ID thanks to
Andy Calderwood, seconded by Eric R. Eaton
Probably a predatory fungus gnat (Macrocera formosa), Durham, NC, 3/25/14            

Gall Midges (Cecidomyiidae family, Bibionomorpha infraorder, Nematocera suborder)
         
Male gall midge (Porricondylinae subfamily, Cecidomyiidae family), about 2 mm long.  Durham, NC, 7/23/10          

March Flies (Bibio genus, Bibionidae family, Bibionomorpha infraorder, Nematocera suborder)

Female march fly, Durham, Nc, 3/31/09 March fly, Durham, NC, 4/8/09 March Flies mating, Durham, NC, 3/29/09.  Mating in this species is a messy affair, looking more like typical predation.

March Flies (Dilophus genus, Bibionidae family, Bibionomorpha infraorder, Nematocera suborder)
     
March fly, Goose Creek State Park, Beaufort County, NC, 11/7/07      

Love Bug (Plecia nearctica, Pleciidae family, Bibionomorpha infraorder, Nematocera suborder)

Love Bug (Plecia nearctica), Gulf Shores National Seashore, Ocean Springs, MS, 10/14/10 Love Bug, Durham, NC, 5/4/08.

Moth Flies (Psychodidae family, Psychomorpha infraorder, Nematocera suborder)

Moth Fly (Psychoda genus maybe, Psychodinae subfamily), Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/9/06.  This fly has serrate antennae.

Brachycera suborder: Short-horned Flies

These flies have been the object of intense study, resulting in many species classifications.  One interesting characteristic of many, if not all, members of this suborder is sexual dimorphism in their eyes: the two composite eyes in the males are large and touch each other, while the females' eyes are smaller and separated.  Their antennae are aristate.

Deer Flies (genus Chrysops, tribe Chrysopsini, subfamily Chrysopsinae, family Tabanidae, infraorder Tabanomorpha, suborder Brachycera)

         
Deer Fly, Durham, NC, 7/1/14 Deer fly, caught while buzzing around my head.  I later released it, although another that bit my leg was less fortunate.  Pettigrew State Park, Cresswell, NC, 4/28/09 Deer fly, Congaree National Park, Richland County, SC, 4/30/11          

Horse Flies (genus Tabanus, tribe Tabanini, subfamily Tabaninae, family Tabanidae, infraorder Tabanomorpha, suborder Brachycera)

These are big flies and some species deliver a nasty bite.  Some are bold, which is good for the photographer who notices them, and bad for the one who doesn't!

 
Male horse fly (probably Tabanus abdominalis), up close, Durham, NC, 7/23/14. It was unable to fly, but did move around. The same horse fly (Tabanus abdominalis?) Female Horse Fly (genus Tabanus) in flight, near Jordan Lake, Chatham County, NC.  This large fly was buzzing very loudly and hovered in the air long enough to be photographed on 9/11/05, probably hoping to bite me (hence the guess about female sex).  Genus ID thanks to Josh Rose. Male Black Horse Fly (Tabanus atratus), Durham, NC, 9/20/11 Male Horse Fly (Tabanus genus), Durham, 9/6/05. Like the two next to it, this fly was a full inch long.  This is a much more typical angle at which horse flies are viewed (or pictured).  No wonder I didn't see the connection at first! Horse fly (Tabanus genus), Durham, NC, 7/18/14  


       
Horse Fly (Tabanus fulvulus), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 6/6/10 Horse Fly (Tabanus fulvulus), Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 6/15/06.  Horse Fly (Tabanus fulvulus), Indian Creek Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 7/7/06        

 

Male horse fly (Tabanus molestus, Jordan Lake Gameland, Chatham County, NC, 6/19/07.  Species ID thanks to "JBurger." Horse fly (Tabanus genus), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 7/15/06.  This fly was missing most of its left wing and was buzzing around aimlessly on the ground at the time.  It was so worn that it had lost its species-specific visual features. Horse fly (Tabanus trimaculatus), Durham, NC, 7/2/08

Striped Horse Fly (Tabanus lineola)

       
Striped Horse Fly (Tabanus lineola), only a half inch long.  Copyright Mary Ross Withrow        

Snipe Flies (Rhagionidae family, infraorder Tabanomorpha, suborder Brachycera)

Chrysopilus genus

Male Golden-backed Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus)Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 4/25/05.   Note how eyes connect. Female Golden-backed Snipe Fly, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/25/07 Female Golden-backed Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus), Penny's Bend, Durham County, NC, 5/5/06 Female Golden-backed Shipe Fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus), photographed recently in western Massachusetts by Steve, who sent me this picture.

 

Male Ornate Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus ornatus), North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 5/24/07 Female Ornate Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus ornatus), Durham, 6/17/05. Apparently leucistic male Ornate Snipe Fly, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 5/20/10

Rhagio genus

 
Common Snipe Flies (Rhagio mystaceus) mating, Craggy Gardens, Macon County, NC, 7/8/05.  The male is on top: note that his eyes cover more territory than do the female's.  Thanks to Josh Rose for family ID.  Confirmed by Marshall (2006), p. 466. Common Snipe Fly (Rhagio mystaceus), Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC Snipe fly (Rhagio hirtus).  Actually seen near a major road at the beginning of the trail leading to Dismal Falls, Giles County, VA, 6/14/11.  Species ID not certain.  

Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae family, infraorder Stratiomyomorpha, suborder Brachycera)

Female soldier fly (maybe Microchrysa polita), Durham, NC, 8/18/12.  Tentative ID thanks to Shannon Donavan. Male soldier fly (Microchrysa polita), Durham, NC, 8/22/12 Soldier Fly, Carolina Beach, NC, 9/17/07 Soldier Fly Lake Crabtree County Park, Wake County, NC, 3/16/06.  A relatively large fly, about an inch long.  Thanks to Eric Eaton for ID. Soldier Fly (Pselliodotus genus?), White Pines Nature Preserve, Chatham County, NC, 4/16/06.  Eric Eaton says this odd critter is just mimicking a bee, but then it's pretty strange for a bee!  ID uncertain. Fly larva, possibly Stratiomys genus. Durham, NC, 9/8/06.  Found in a deep puddle.

Stiletto Flies (Therevidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)
         
Stiletto fly (Spiriverpa genus, Therevinae subfamily), Therevidae family, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 7/2/10          

Robber Flies (Asilidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Mallophora genus, subfamily Asilinae

Southern Bee Killer (Mallophora orcina, subfamily Asilinae), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 10/12/06.  At first it looked like a big bumblebee: what a surprise to see those fly eyes!

Efferia genus, subfamily Asilinae

Male Robberfly (Efferia albibarbis, subfamily Asilinae), Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06 Male Robber Fly (Efferia pogonias, subfamily Asilinae), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06 Robber fly (Efferia genus), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/9/12 Female Robberfly (probably Efferia genus), Durham, 9/27/05. Robber fly, Durham, NC, 7/13/14

Promachus genus, subfamily Asilinae

These are the largest robber flies.

Robber fly (Promachus genus), Durham, NC, 8/15/12 Robber Flies (Promachus rufipes, subfamily Asilinae).  These two showed up on the windshield wipers of one of our cars in Durham, NC on 8/8/03.  Female Robber Fly(Promachus rufipes), Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, 8/17/05.  Robber Fly subduing a hornet: note the hornet's stinger.  Duke Forest Gate #12, Durham, NC, 8/23/06. Female Robber Fly, with prey, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC 8/24/05.  Note the fat abdomen: this fly has been doing well. Robber fly (Promachus genus) with grasshopper prey, Durham, NC, 7/16/14

Stichopogoninae subfamily

   
Robber fly (Stichopogon trifasciatus?), Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/24/08 Robber fly (Stichopogon trifasciatus?), Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 8/27/12. Smallest robber fly I know.    

Leptogastrinae subfamily

 
Robber fly (Leptogaster genus), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 7/14/07,  OK thanks to Martin Hauser.  

Unknown genera

Robber fly, Durham, NC, 6/17/07 Robber fly maybe, Indian Creek Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 7/7/06

Laphria genus, subfamily Laphriinae

 
Robber Fly (Laphria divisor), Cox Mountain Trail, Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC, 5/6/07 Robber fly (Laphria divisor) with ladybug beetle prey, Piedmont Wildlife Center, Durham, NC, 5/8/10 Robber fly (Laphria divisor), Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC, 5/31/11  

Ommatius genus, Asilinae subfamily

         
Hanging-thief (Ommatius genus), Durham, 8/2/04.   Identified by Josh Rose of Duke University. Hanging-thief (Ommatius tibialis), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 6/25/08          

Diogmites genus, Dasypogoninae subfamily

 
Mating Robber flies (Diogmites neoternatus), Flat River Impoundment, Durham, NC, 7/17/11 Robber fly (Diogmites neoternatus), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 7/9/08 Robber fly (Diogmites neoternatus) with bumblebee prey, Jordan Lake Gamelands, 7/8/14. Robber fly (Diogmites neoternatus), Jordan Lake Gamelands (east), Chatham County, NC, 7/12/15  

Long-legged Flies (Family Dolichopodidae, infraorder Muscomorpha, suborder Brachycera)

These colorful flies (mostly members of the ) average ⅛ inch long. 

Condylostylus caudatus, Sciapodinae subfamily

Long-legged fly, Durham, NC, 5/29/08, probably a member of the Diaphorus species of the Diaphorinae subfamily. Long-legged fly, a Jordan Lake Gameland, Chatham County, NC, 6/19/07 Long-legged Fly with bee, Al Buehler Trail, Duke University, Durham, 8/23/06

 

Long-legged fly, Durham, 6/20/05 Long-legged Flies, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 6/25/09 Indian Creek Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 7/7/06

 

Long-legged fly (genus Condylostylus, subfamily Sciapodinae), Third Fork Trail, Durham, 9/5/11. Long-legged fly, Durham, NC, 8/16/08 Long-legged fly, Asheville, 7/7/05

Hydrophorus genus, Hydrophorinae subfamily

         
Long-legged flies (Hydrophorus genus), skating around on the surface of a puddle near the lake's edge, Ebenezer Church Recreation Area, Chatham County, NC, 10/7/11          

Mydas Flies (Mydidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Mydas Fly (family Mydidae), Durham, 7/15/05. This fly was so large that I mistook it for a wasp at first. Mydas Fly, New Hanover County Arboretum, Wilmington, NC, 6/23/06

Flower Flies (Syrphidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Flower Flies not only mimic bees, but wasps and soldier flies!  They are far more abundant than any of these, economically important pollinators, and the most taxonomically complex of the Dipterans represented on this page.

See more photos of Flower Flies (and Bee Flies).

   
Close-up of a flower fly's aristate antennae: note the hairlike projection coming out of the right antenna.    

Eristalinae Subfamily

Eristalis genus, Eristaliina sub-tribe, Eristaliini tribe, Eristalinae subfamily

Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax), seen in my local marsh in Durham, NC, 9/23/12 Most likely a Drone fly (Eristalis tenax, Eristalinae subfamily), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 10/11/06.   This was a relatively large fly that flew wildly about, somewhat like a Yellow Jacket. Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax), a relatively large flower fly that looks very much like a honey bee.  Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 11/11/10 Flower fly (Eristalis dimidiata) Flower fly (Eristalis dimidiata, Eristalinae subfamily), NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 10/20/06 Flower fly (Eristalis transversa), Flat River Impoundment, Durham, NC, 10/4/10. Flower fly (Eristalis transversa), Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 11/11/10 American Hoverfly (Eristalis transversa, Eristalinae subfamily), New Hanover Botanical Garden, Wilmington, NC, 7/17/04

Eristalinus genus

         
Flower fly (Eristalinus aeneus), Greenville, NC, 11/12/10 Flower fly (Eristalinus aeneus), Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 7/12/12.  ID thanks to John F. Carr.          

Meromacrus genus, Eristalini tribe, Eristalinae subfamily

         
Flower fly (Meromacrus acutus, Eristalinae subfamily), Durham, NC, 9/23/12          

Helophilus genus, Helophiliina sub-genus, Eristalini tribe, Eristalinae subfamily

Flower Fly  (Helophilus fasciatus, Eristalinae subfamily), NC Botanical Garden, 11/06/04.  Many species of flower flies have striped honeybee-like abdomens, but there are many variations on this basic theme. Flower fly (Helophilus fasciatus), NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 10/20/06

Milesia genus, Philippimytiina sub-genus, Milesiini tribe, Eristalinae subfamily

Virginia Hoverfly (Milesia virginiensis), Durham, NC, 6/1/14 Virginia Flower Fly (Milesia virginiensis, subfamily Eristalinae),  Johnston Mill, Orange County, NC, 7/1/06.   Note the flattened abdomen, a characteristic apparently peculiar to syrphid flies. Virginia Flower Fly (Milesia virginiensis), Durham, NC, 10/20/08

Chrysogaster genus, Brachypini tribe, Eristalinae subfamily

Flower fly, Durham, NC, 2/15/13 Flower fly (Chrysogaster genus, Bracypini tribe), Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 5/8/07

Sphiximorpha genus, Eristalinae subfamily

Syrphid Fly (Sphiximorpha, subfamily Eristalinae), Durham, 10/24/05.  It looks somewhat like a Potter Wasp at first glance, but the big eyes and prominent maxillary palps give it away.  Thanks to Eric Eaton for the ID.  Confirmed by Marshall (2006), p. 479.   NOTE: this classification is not considered to be valid by the ITIS: this applies to the entire genus Sphiximorpha.

 

Syrphid Fly (Temnostoma balyras, subtribe Philippimyiina, tribe Milesiini), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 5/11/07

   
Flower Fly, Raulson Arboretum, 4/13/07    

Spilomyia genus

         
Flower fly (Spilomyia fusca), relatively large, buzzing loudly.  The species is common in the Northeast.  Tanawha Trail, NC, 8/31/10. Flower fly (Spilomyia longicornis), American Tobacco Trail, Durham, NC, 11/5/11          

Syrphinae Subfamily

Syrphus genus

       
Flower Fly (Syrphini tribe Syrphinae subfamily), Boone, Watauga County, 8/31/05.        

Pseudodoros genus

         
Flower fly (Pseudodoros clavatus) on an Asiatic Dayflower on the Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 8/12/11 Flower fly (Pseudodoros clavatus), Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 11/11/10          

Toxomerus genus

Flower fly (Toxomerus genus), Durham, NC, 6/18/10 Mating lower flies (Toxomerus marginatus), Durham, NC, 7/18/09 Mating flower flies (Toxomerus marginatus), Durham, NC, 5/23/08 Mating flower flies (Toxomerus genus), with all but the wings of one obscured. Durham, 6/16/08


           
Toxomerus Hoverfly (Toxomerus geminatus), Durham, 4/15/05.  Syrphid fly (Toxomerus marginatus, subfamily Syrphinae), Durham, 6/13/06 Flower fly (Toxomerus genus), Southern Village, Orange County, NC, 11/13/07  


Syrphid Fly Larva
Syrphid fly (Epistrophe genus?) larva, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 7/3/07.  Family ID thanks to John R. Maxwell.

Bee Flies (Bombyliidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

These prey on the larvae of solitary bees.  All normal female solitary bees are capable of reproduction.   Large Bee Flies are most numerous where these small bees are found, which is mainly very close to the ground, where the bees emerge from holes to look for food.

IDs based on Marshall (2006) pp. 457-459.  See more photos of Bee Flies.

Bombyliinae subfamily

An amusing article about a U.K. Bombylius major irruption recently (4/16/12) appeared in the Daily Mail titled Invasion of the beesquitoes! The scary-looking inch-long monsters buzzing the UK's gardeners .

Large Bee Fly (Bombylius major, subfamily Bombyliinae), Santee NWR, Orangeburg County, SC, 3/26/06 Large Bee Fly, Museum of Life & Science (outdoors), 4/20/07 Bee fly, (Systoechus vulgaris, subfamily Bombyliinae), Durham, 9/28/06 Bomber Fly (Heterostylum robustum), Flat River Impoundment, Durham, NC, 8/15/10 Small bee fly (Aldrichia ehrmanii, Conophorini tribe), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/10/14. ID thanks to Joel Kits .

Exoprosopinae subfamily

Bee fly (Exoprosopa fascipennis), Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/24/08 Bee fly (Exoprosopa fasciata), Ft. Fisher, New Hanover County, NC, 9/16/07

Anthracinae subfamily

Bee fly, Durham, NC, 6/30/14 Bee fly (Xenox tigrinus), Flat River Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 7/17/11 Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus), Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 6/20/10 Bee fly (Xenox tigrinus, tribe Anthracini), Durham, NC, 7/15/08 Bee fly (Anthrax irroratus, subfamily Anthracinae), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 6/17/06. Bee fly, Jordan Lake Gamelands, Chatham County, NC, 12/29/14


         
Bee Fly (Anthrax georgicus), Durham, 6/2/06. Bee Fly (Anthrax analis), Carolina Beach State Park, 4/28/05.  Contrary to what its common name might suggest, the larvae of these flies prey on beetle larvae.  Note the similarity of its wings to those of the Large Bee Fly. Bee fly (Chrysanthrax cypris, tribe Villini), Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/21/07 Bee fly (probably Villini tribe), Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 9/16/07.  An unusually small bee fly, with a wingspread of about 10 mm.          

Ecliminae subfamily

         
Bee fly (Lepidophora lepidocera), Durham, NC, 7/4/12 Same bee fly (Lepidophora lepidocera)          

Poecilognathinae subfamily

         
Bee fly (Poecilognathus punctipennis), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 10/22/14          

Tachinid Flies (Tachinidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Tachina Flies (Trichopoda pennipes and another Trichopoda genus member, subfamily Phasiinae)

Tachina Fly  (Trichopoda pennipes), Durham, 7/5/05.   A parasitic fly that preys on true bugs.  Appeared at edge of swamp. Trichopoda genus,  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC,  10/23/05 Trichopoda genus, subfamily Phasiinae, family Tachinidae, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/29/06


           
Tachinid fly (Xanthomelanodes genus, Tricopodini tribe), Durham, NC, 5/30/09 Fly (Phasia aurulans Phasiini tribe), Mountain Lake, Giles County, VA, 6/13/11.  ID thanks to Aaron Schusteff.            

Deopalpus genus, Tachinini tribe, Tachininae subfamily

         
Tachinid Fly (Deopalpus genus)          
 

Archytas apicifer, subfamily Tachininae

Tachinid fly (Archytas apicifer), Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 7/17/14 Tachinid Fly (Archytas apicifer, subfamily Tachininae), White Rock Mountain, Macon County, NC, 8/9/05.  This fly was the size of a bumblebee; in fact, I first thought it was one.  This fly was on the move and probably looking for prey, although predators supplement their diet with nectar sometimes. Tachinid Fly (possibly Archytas apicifer ), NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 8/28/06


       
Tachinid flies, Caldwell County, NC, just off Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, around Milepost 296, 8/5/08.  I'm guessing that this is a courtship ritual with a would-be interloper.  This species was abundant in this area.        

Hystricia genus

Beelike Tachinid Fly, (Hystricia abrupta, subfamily Tachininae),  Little Scaly Mountain, Macon County, NC, 8/19/04.  Larvae of this large fly parasitize other insects.  The characteristic long hairs on the abdomen identify it as a parasite of other insects.

Tachina genus

Tachinid Fly (Tachina genus subfamily Tachininae), Durham, 7/13/06

Gonia frontosa (Goniini tribe, Exoristinae subfamily)

Tachinid Fly, Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road access, 3/13/07 Another Tachinid Fly, same general area Tachinid Fly, Raven Rock State Park, Harnett County, NC, 3/12/06, in flight.

Picture-winged Flies (Ulidiidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Tritoxa genus

         
Picture-winged Fly (Tritoxa incurva), Durham, NC, 9/7/09 Mating picture-winged flies (Tritoxa flexa), Flat River Impoundment, Durham, NC, 8/15/10          

Delphinia picta

Picture-winged Fly (Delphinia picta), Durham, 6/17/05.  I've never seen one like this before.  It showed up in the swamp in my neighborhood.  Thanks to Josh Rose for ID.  According to him, the tiny white objects below the wings are halteres ("vestigial remnants of the hindwings"). Picture-winged Fly, same fly. Picture-winged Fly (Delphinia picta), Durham, 6/13/06 Same Picture-winged Fly

Meliera genus

Picture-winged Fly (Meliera genus), Durham, 7/5/05.  Appeared at edge of swamp.  Picture-winged Fly (Meliera genus), Durham, 8/6/06 Picture-winged Fly (Meliera genus), Southpoint Swamp, Durham, NC, 7/12/07

Callopistromyia annulipes
   
Picture-winged fly (Callopistromyia annulipes), Blue Ridge Parkway, Rough Ridge parking lot (near Mile Post 302).  ID thanks to Ron M.    

Eumetopiella genus
         
Picture-winged Fly (Eumetopiella genus), Durham, NC, 7/16/09.  ID thanks to Joel Kits.          

Stilt-legged Flies (Taeniaptera trivittata, Taeniapterinae subfamily, Micropezidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Stilt-legged Fly (Taeniaptera trivittata), Durham, NC, 8/24/07.  ID according to Marshall (2006), p. 509 Stilt-legged Fly, Durham (swamp), 6/20/05.  It was about inch long.  Thanks to Josh Rose for the ID. Stilt-legged Fly, Hammock Hills Trail, Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC, 5/11/06 Stilt-legged Fly, Durham, NC, 6/17/07.  Mating Stilt-legged Flies, Durham, 6/13/06.  Many mating animals are easy to photograph, but these were really on the move!

 

Same mating Stilt-legged Flies, Durham, 6/13/06 Stilt-legged fly?, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 7/1/06.  The length discrepancy between the forelegs and the other four does seem different. Stilt-legged Fly, Durham, NC, 6/17/07. 

Marsh Flies (Sciomyzidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

These flies live mainly on aquatic snails.  Sepedon and Dictya genus IDs were provided by

Bill Murphy, Fishers, IN
(retired, Smithsonian research collaborator)
Marsh fly (Dictya genus), Durham, NC, 7/13/07 Marsh Fly (Euthycera arctuata), Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 7/2/10 Marsh Fly (Sepedon genus), Durham, 9/14/05.  Found in same swamp.  Thanks to Josh Rose for ID. Marsh Fly (Sepedon genus)Durham, 10/26/05

 

Flesh Flies (Sarcophagidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

These are fairly large flies, quite a bit bigger than house flies, and show up most frequently in areas where people have eaten and not cleaned up.

Flesh fly, Durham, NC, 6/19/09 Flesh Fly, Little Scaly Mountain, Macon County, 8/11/05.  This fly is a scavenger and about twice the size of a housefly. Flesh Fly, Durham, 9/27/05.  This fly was near the far side of my Durham neighborhood swamp. Flesh Fly, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/29/06 Flesh Fly (Metopia genus), Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC, 10/9/06

Lauxaniid Flies (Lauxaniidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Lauxaniid flies (most likely Sapromyza genus), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/10/06.  Found deep in the woods. Lauxaniid fly, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/16/07

Small Fruit Flies (Drosophilidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

When you read about "fruit flies" being used in genetic research, these are the ones they mean (more specifically, the Drosophila melanogaster species).

Small Fruit Fly (family Drosophilidae), White Pines Natural Reserve, Chatham County, NC 9/25/05.  This is a type of "fruit fly," famous both for its role in genetics studies and for its fondness for rotting fruit.

Fruit Flies (Tephritidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

These are much bigger than the Drosophilidae and are crop pests.

Fruit Fly (Eutreta novaeboracensis), Little Scaly Mountain, Macon County, NC, 8/11/05.  Thanks to Eric Eaton for ID.  Confirmed by Marshall (2006), p. 495. Fruit fly (Tephritidae family), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/24/09 Fruit Fly, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 4/28/06 Fruit Fly. Same fly, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 4/28/06. 

Platystomatidae family, Tephritoidea superfamily, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder

Senopterina varia mating flies, Ft. Fisher State Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06.  They showed up on a cattail leaf in a marsh at the head of the Ft. Fisher Basin Trail.  Thanks to Keith Bayless for genus ID and to John F. Carr for the species ID.  Also see relevant BugGuide page.

Blowflies or Blue/Green Bottle Flies (Calliphoridae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

Blue Bottle Fly, Durham, 11/4/05. Green Bottle Fly, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/16/07

Muscid Flies (Muscidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

 
Durham, 4/23/09 Muscid fly, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 4/4/09 

Chloropid Flies (Chloropidae family, infraorder Muscomorpha, Brachycera suborder)

 

 
Chloropid fly (Meromyza genus), about 5 mm long Chloropid fly, Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 10/27/11 Chloropid fly (Thaumatomyia genus, Chloropinae subfamily), Durham, NC, 7/4/08    

Xylophagomorpha infraorder

Xylophagid Flies (Xylophagidae family, Xylophagomorpha infraorder, Brachycera suborder)

Xylophagid fly (Dialysis fasciventris), Coenomyiinae subfamily, Xylophagidae family), Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 8/8/06.  Family ID thanks to Matt Bertone. Species ID thanks to John F. Carr Xylophagid fly (Rachicerus obscuripennis), Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 6/15/06.  This anomalous species has large, many-segmented, comblike antennae.  ID based on Marshall (2006), p. 449. Xylophagid fly (Coenomyia ferruginea) being attacked by a black widow, Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road, Orange County, NC, 4/24/10 Another view of C. ferruginea

Dance Flies (family Empididae)

Dance Fly (family Empididae), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 3/30/07 Dance Fly, Farrington Point, Chatham County, NC, 3/16/08

Mystery Flies

Durham, 6/20/05.  How could you resist those iridescent wings? Durham, 10/28/05. This fly was about a sixteenth of an inch long, and I almost overlooked what seemed to be a tiny speck before looking at it through the camera.

 

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