flutter fly

(Toxonevra superba)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Widely distributed but rare

Flight/Season

June to September

Habitat

Moist, shady places

Size

Total Length: to ¼ (3 to 6 mm)

Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

Toxonevra superba is is a widely distributed but rare flutter fly. It is sometimes called antlered flutter fly, but not by any authoritative sources. It occurs in the United States from Maine to Minnesota south to Georgia and Nebraska, and in southern Canada from Nova Scotia to Alberta. Adults are found on flowers and on low branches of trees and shrubs. Larvae may feed on plant material, or they may prey on the larvae of bark beetles, or both.

Adults are yellowish-brown and to ¼ (3 to 6 mm) in length.

The head is rounded in profile. There are two large compound eyes, one on each side of the head, and three simple eyes (ocelli) in a small triangle on top of the head. The compound eyes are round. The collection of protruding mouthparts (proboscis) is short. The third segment of each antenna is oval.

The upper part of the thorax is yellowish-brown. There are two indistinct, slightly paler, stripes, and two parallel rows of black bristles. Each abdominal segment has a row of large black bristles near the rear margin. There is a small but distinct black spot at the base of each bristle.

The wings are clear with dark brown markings. There is a broad, dark brown band on the leading edge (costal margin) extending around the wingtip. The band has a small bump on the inner side about one third of the distance to the wingtip. There is also a large spot half way to the wingtip extending from the band to the inner margin. The wing pattern resembles a deer’s antlers to imaginative minds. The subcostal vein (Sc) is complete. The costal vein is broken near the end of the Sc. The anal cell is rounded at the end.

The legs are light yellow. The fourth leg segment (tibia) does not have bristles near the tip.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Plant material or larvae of bark beetles or both

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

Males extend and vibrate their wings, a behavior that gives the family Pallopteridae its common name.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30, 82.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)

 

Suborder:

Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, mouches muscoïdes, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)

 

Infraorder:

Muscomorpha

 

No Rank:

Eremoneura

 

No Rank:

Cyclorrhapha

 

No Rank:

Schizophora

 

No Rank:

Acalyptratae

 

Superfamily:

Tephritoidea (fungus gnats and gall midges)

 

Family:

Pallopteridae (flutter flies)

 

Genus:

Toxonevra

 
Synonyms

Palloptera superba

Toxoneura superba (misspelling)

 
Common
Names

This species has no common name. The common name for the family Pallopteridae is flutter flies, and is applied here for convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Proboscis

The protruding mouthpart(s) of a sucking insect.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)   flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)
       
  flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)   flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)
       
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About

Jan 31, 2017

Toxonevra superba, Flutter Fly (Pallopteridae), fluttering on bird pooh, July 15, 2016

   
       
  Toxonevra superba, some insects only have Latin names
NatNat
 
   
 
About

May 12, 2020

   
       

 

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Alfredo Colon
Summer 2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

flutter fly (Toxonevra superba)


     
     
 
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Created: 12/23/2020

Last Updated:

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