flutter fly

(Toxonevra superba)

Conservation Status
antlered flutter fly
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Antlered flutter fly is a widely distributed but rare fly. 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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: to ¼ (3 to 6 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moist, shady places

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

June to September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

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

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Plant material or larvae of bark beetles or both

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30, 82.

 
  8/31/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widely distributed but rare

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

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

Infraorder

Muscomorpha  
  No Rank Eremoneura  
  No Rank Cyclorrhapha (circular-seamed flies)  
  Zoosection Schizophora (muscoids)  
  Zoosubsection Acalyptratae (acalyptrate muscoids)  
 

Superfamily

Tephritoidea (fruit, signal, and picture-winged flies)  
 

Family

Pallopteridae (flutter flies)  
 

Genus

Toxonevra  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Palloptera superba

Toxoneura superba (misspelling)

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

antlered flutter fly

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

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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Sean Michotte II

 
  Hello! My name is Sean Michotte II, I live in Uniontown, PA, and I spotted an “antlered flutterfly” today in my house. I hope that my sighting is relevant, being that you are a Minnesota based site. I just thought it was very bizarre. Thank you!   antlered flutter fly  
           
 

Thank you so much! I appreciate the opportunity to have my sighting seen! I understand that they might not be relevant, but I have few more pictures if you’d like them!

  antlered flutter fly  
           
    antlered flutter fly   antlered flutter fly  
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    antlered flutter fly   antlered flutter fly  
           
    antlered flutter fly   antlered flutter fly  
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  MVI 0107
MJBugs
 
   
 
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

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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  Sean Michotte II
8/30/2021

Location: Uniontown, PA

Hello! My name is Sean Michotte II, I live in Uniontown, PA, and I spotted an “antlered flutterfly” today in my house. I hope that my sighting is relevant, being that you are a Minnesota based site. I just thought it was very bizarre. Thank you!

antlered flutter fly  
  Alfredo Colon
Summer 2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

antlered flutter fly  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Created: 12/23/2020

Last Updated:

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