Minnesota Flies

 
Order Diptera

Diptera is the order of insects that is characterized as having a single pair of functional wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, reduced, knob-like structures derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax. The order includes true flies, mosquitos, gnats, and midges.

There are about 120,000 described species worldwide, though there are thought to be twice that number of species currently living.


syrphid fly (Toxomerus geminatus)

 

 

           

Recent Additions

 
Band-winged crane fly
   

Band-winged crane fly (Epiphragma fasciapenne) is a common, easily identified, moderate-sized crane fly. It occurs in the eastern United States and adjacent Canadian provinces east of the Great Plains. Eastern Minnesota is at the western edge of its range. It is found in floodplain woodlands and wooded areas adjacent to swamps.

Like all crane flies, the body is long and slim, the wings are long and narrow, and the legs are very long, very thin, and very fragile. The thorax has a distinct, V-shaped groove on top. The lower jaws each have a very long, antenna-like extension.

Band-winged crane fly is distinguished by the distinctive wing pattern with four bands of bordered brown spots, and by a dark brown band at the very tip of the third leg segment.

  Lesser bulb fly (Eumerus spp.)
  Photo by Alfredo Colon
   
   
   
   
   

Lesser bulb fly (Eumerus spp.)
   

Eumerus is a genus of small hoverflies in the family Syrphidae. With 281 known species, it is one of the largest genera of flies. It is found throughout the Palearctic realm, which includes Europe, Asia north of the Himalayas, North Africa, and the northern and central parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Several Eumerus species have been introduced into North and South America. Three of these are known to occur in the United States: lesser bulb fly (Eumerus funeralis), narcissus bulb fly (Eumerus narcissi), and onion bulb fly (Eumerus strigatus). Collectively, they are known as lesser bulb flies.

Adult lesser bulb flies are black tinged with bronze. They have pale longitudinal stripes on the thorax and silvery-white stripes on the abdomen. The larvae are considered pests. They tunnel into plant bulbs, causing the bulbs to rot. The bulb either dies or produces stunted growth in the following growing season. In some areas, up to 25% of narcissus bulbs are infected.

  Lesser bulb fly (Eumerus spp.)
  Photo by Alfredo Colon
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Long-tailed dance fly
   

Long-tailed dance fly (Rhamphomyia longicauda) is a small, black, long-legged fly. It is commonly found from May to July in deciduous woods near water. The wings are long and black. The head is round with large bright orange or red eyes. On the female, the middle and hind legs have a fringe of long, black, bristly hairs.

Every evening around sunset, males and females collect in same-sex swarms. Females and fly up and down, the behavior that gives this family its common name “dance-flies”. Females cannot hunt for prey. They receive protein from males as gifts in exchange for copulation. They swallow air, filling and extending their abdomen outward, saucer-like, falsely signaling males that their eggs are nearing maturity. The long hairy legs wrap around the abdomen, making it appear even larger. Males are attracted to females that have largest swollen abdomens and hairiest legs. An individual will break off and join the other swarm to select a mate.

  long-tailed dance fly
  Photo by Alfredo Colon
   
   
   
   
   
   

Bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria sacrator)
   

With 7,003 species in 530 genera worldwide, robber flies are one of the largest and most abundant families of insects alive today. Bee-like robber flies, as the common name for the genus suggests, resemble bees. There are 240 species of bee-like robber flies, 62 species in North America north of Mexico. Few of the species have been given a common name. Laphria sacrator is one of several species famous for being a bumble bee mimic, so “bumble bee mimic robber fly” will stand in for the common name.

Bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria sacrator) is a short, robust, medium-sized, bee-like robber fly. It is fairly common in northeastern and north-central United States, including Minnesota. It has a stout thorax and a short abdomen, both partially covered with long yellow hairs making it resemble a bumble bee. It is one of the hairiest of the bee-like robber flies. Adults are to 1 long.

  bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria sacrator)
  Photo by Christa Rittberg
   
   
   
   
   

Oak leaf gall midge
   

Many insects that form detachable galls on oak. All but two of these are cynipid wasps. The two exceptions are the oak gall midges Polystepha pilulae and Polystepha globosa.

Oak leaf gall midge (Polystepha pilulae) is a long-legged, 1 16 to long, mosquito-like fly (midge). Adults are impossible to identify by appearance in the field. However, the species can easily be identified by the gall it produces. Galls appear always on the upper surface of northern pin oak, northern red oak, and possibly black oak leaves. They are hard, 1 16 to 3 16 in diameter, and irregular in shape. They are green when they first appear in the spring, soon turning red or magenta. As they age they become brown and crusty. They can be easily detached from the leaf surface.

Oak leaf gall midge (Polystepha globosa) forms similar spherical galls on the undersurface of the leaves of black oak and possibly other oaks in the red oak group.

  oak leaf gall midge (pilulae)
   
   

Other Recent Additions
   

midge (Axarus festivus)

bee-like robber fly (Laphria index)

bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria thoracica)

hoverfly (Chalcosyrphus chalybeus)

orange-horned hammertail (Sphegina campanulata)

bee-like robber fly (Laphria sp.)

  bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria thoracica)
  Photo by Alfredo Colon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           
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aster leafminer fly (Calycomyza humeralis)

 

band-winged crane fly

bee-like robber fly (Laphria sp.)

bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria sacrator)

bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria thoracica)

crane fly (Limonia annulata)

common green bottle fly

goldenrod bunch gall midge

goldenrod gall fly

horse fly

hoverfly (Helophilus hybridus)

hoverfly (Pipiza sp.)

hoverfly (Syrphus torvus)

hunchback bee fly

lesser bulb fly (Eumerus sp.)

long-tailed dance fly

midge (Axarus festivus)

narrow-headed sun fly

oak leaf gall midge (pilulae)

ocellate gall midge

red-tailed flesh fly

syrphid fly (Toxomerous geminatus)

tiger crane fly

white-spotted pond fly

willow pinecone gall midge

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band-winged crane fly (Epiphragma fasciapenne)

 
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bare-eyed mimic (Mallota bautias)

 
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bee fly (Villa lateralis)

 
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bee-like robber fly (Laphria index)

 
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bee-like robber fly (Laphria sp.)

 
     

bee-like robber fly (Laphria ithypyga)

 
     

brown robber fly (Proctacanthella cacopiliga)

 
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bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria posticata)

 
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bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria sacrator)

 
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bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria thoracica)

 
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common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata)

 
     

common oblique syrphid fly (Allograpta obliqua)

 
     

common snipe fly (Rhagio mystaceus)

 
     

crane fly (Epiphragma fasciapenne)

 
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crane fly (Limonia annulata)

 
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crane fly (Tipulomorpha)

 
     

deer fly (Chrysops spp.)

 
     

deer fly (Chrysops mitis)

 
     

friendly fly (Sarcophaga aldrichi)

 
     

gall midge (Harmandiola cavernosa)

 
     

gall midge (Rhopalomyia artemisiae)

 
     

gall midge (Rhopalomyia baccarum)

 
     

giant crane fly (Tipula abdominalis)

 
     

giant robber fly (Promachus fitchii)

 
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giant robber fly (Promachus vertebratus)

 
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goldenrod bunch gall midge (Rhopalomyia solidaginis)

 
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goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis)

 
     

grape gall midge (Schizomyia vitiscoryloides)

 
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heleomyzid fly (Suillia quinquepunctata)

 
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horse fly (Tabanus spp.)

 
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hoverfly (Chalcosyrphus chalybeus)

 
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hoverfly (Helophilus hybridus)

 
     

hoverfly (Helophilus latifrons)

 
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hoverfly (Helophilus spp.)

 
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hoverfly (Pipiza spp.)

 
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hoverfly (Syrphus torvus)

 
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hunchback bee fly (Lepidophora lutea)

 
     

large crane fly (Tipulidae)

 
     

leaf miner fly (Liriomyza eupatoriella)

 
     

lesser bulb fly (Eumerus funeralis)

 
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lesser bulb fly (Eumerus spp.)

 
     

linden wart gall midge (Contarinia verrucicola)

 
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long-tailed dance fly (Rhamphomyia longicauda)

 
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margined calligrapher (Toxomerus marginatus)

 
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midge (Axarus festivus)

 
     

narcissus bulb fly (Eumerus narcissi)

 
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narrow-headed sun fly (Helophilus fasciatus)

 
     

oak leaf gall midge (Polystepha globosa)

 
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oak leaf gall midge (Polystepha pilulae)

 
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ocellate gall midge (Acericecis ocellaris)

 
     

onion bulb fly (Eumerus strigatus)

 
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orange-horned hammertail (Sphegina campanulata)

 
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red-tailed flesh fly (Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis)

 
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robber fly (Family Asilidae)

 
     

scaly bee fly (Lepidophora lepidocera)

 
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small dung fly (Family Sphaeroceridae)

 
     

soldier fly (Hedriodiscus binotatus)

 
     

striped horse fly (Tabanus similis)

 
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syrphid fly (Pseudodoros clavatus)

 
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syrphid fly (Toxomerus geminatus)

 
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tachinid fly (Family Tachinidae)

 
     

tachinid fly (Compsilura concinnata)

 
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tiger crane fly (Nephrotoma ferruginea)

 
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white-spotted pond fly (Sericomyia lata)

 
     

willow cabbagegall midge (Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides)

 
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willow pinecone gall midge (Rabdophaga strobiloides)

 
     

willow rosette gall midge (Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides)

 
     

winter crane fly (Trichocera spp.)

 
     

wood nettle gall midge (Dasineura investita)

 
     

 

 

 

 

No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for an insect in the list at left, or the insect does not appear in the list, you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that insect. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the insect in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that insect featuring your contribution.

 

Capitalization of Common Names

Insect scientific names are governed by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). Vernacular (common) names are not. In an attempt to “assure the uniformity of (common) names of common insects” the Entomological Society of America (ESA) published Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms. ESA has no rule or guideline that addresses capitalization of common names. However, the database of common names published by ESA does not capitalize common names. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) also uses uncapitalized common names. Most other sources, including ITIS, BAMONA, Odonata Central, and the Peterson Field Guides, capitalize common insect names. MinnesotaSeasons.com will adhere to the convention followed by ESA and NCBI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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