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

 
Oak leaf gall midge (Polystepha pilulae)
   

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)
   
   

Hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)
   

There are about 6,000 species in 200 genera of hoverflies. They are often seen hovering at flowers, hence their common name. Few of them merit a unique common name. Our species, Helophilus fasciatus, though fairly common, is not one of these, so we will call it “hoverfly” followed by its scientific name.

This hoverfly is robust and medium-sized, to long. It can be seen from late March to early October. Like many hoverflies, it is somewhat bee-like in appearance.

The genus Helophilus is identified by the striped thorax, on the wing the marginal cell open and the pterostigma lacking a cross vein, and the absence of a spur on the femur of the hind leg. Our species is distinguished by relatively narrow abdominal stripes, the narrowed area at the top of the head of the male, the all black hairs at the top of the face of the female, the space between the eyes narrower than the width of the pair of swellings at the base of the antennae, and the amount of black markings on the legs.

  hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)
   
   

Willow pinecone gall midge
   

An abnormal growth (gall) on the stems, leaves, or buds of a plant can be formed by many insects, mites, and fungi. Willows are hosts to many parasitic insects, several of which form galls. Only willow pinecone gall midge (Rabdophaga strobiloides) forms a pinecone-shaped gall at the tip of a willow stem.

The adult midge is a small fly about 3 16 long. It is most often identified by the large distinctive gall that houses the growing larva. The gall appears at the end of a willow stem. It consists of numerous, stunted, overlapping, loosely appressed, scale-like leaves. In the summer it is green, more or less globular, and densely covered with long, white, matted and tangled, woolly hairs. In the fall the cone turns brown and the shape resembles a pine cone.

  willow pinecone gall midge
   
   

Red-tailed flesh fly
   

There are 3 subfamilies, 108 genera, and about 2,500 species of flesh flies (Sarcophagidae). These flies deposit already hatched larvae on carrion, dung, or animal wounds.

The red-tailed flesh fly is often the first or one of the first insects to visit a corpse. This makes them useful in determining the amount of time that has elapsed since a person has died.

This species is identified by three gray stripes on the thorax; gray and black checkerboard pattern on the abdomen; reddish-brown external genitalia at the tip of the abdomen of the male; 4 bristles on the notopleuron (a region on the thorax); a long bristle on the upper side of the antenna that is feathery at the base; well developed lobes at the base of the wing; and an R5 wing cell that is closed or narrowed at the end.

  common green bottle fly
  Photo by Bill Reynolds
   
   
   
   

Common green bottle fly
   

There are many species of green bottle fly. Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) is certainly the most well known and probably the most scientifically studied green bottle fly in the world. As its common name suggests, it is common and widespread, found in all of the temperate and tropical regions of the planet.

This is often one of the first insects to visit a corpse, sometimes within minutes of death. Forensic scientists use the development of the larva of this species to determine the age of a corpse. Medicinally, the larvae are used on humans to painlessly remove dead or decaying tissue from wounds while leaving healthy tissue untouched and secreting a chemical that promotes tissue regeneration.

This species is identified by three grooves across the thorax and three bristles on the upper middle (dorsal) surface of the middle thoracic section.

  common green bottle fly
  Photo by Bill Reynolds
   
   
   

Other Recent Additions
   

hunchback bee fly (Lepidophora lutea)

small dung fly (Family Sphaeroceridae)

syrphid fly (Pseudodoros clavatus)

  syrphid fly (Pseudodoros clavatus)
  Photo by Bill Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           
     

aster leafminer fly (Calycomyza humeralis)

 

crane fly (Limonia annulata)

common green bottle fly

goldenrod bunch gall midge

goldenrod gall fly

hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)

hoverfly (Helophilus hybridus)

hoverfly (Syrphus torvus)

oak leaf gall midge (pilulae)

ocellate gall midge

red-tailed flesh fly

syrphid fly (Toxomerous geminatus)

tiger crane fly

willow pinecone gall midge

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bee fly (Villa lateralis)

 
     

brown robber fly (Proctacanthella cacopiliga)

 
Profile Photo Photo

common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata)

 
     

common oblique syrphid fly (Allograpta obliqua)

 
     

crane fly (Epiphragma fasciapenne)

 
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crane fly (Limonia annulata)

 
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crane fly (Tipulomorpha)

 
     

deer fly (Chrysops spp.)

 
     

friendly fly (Sarcophaga aldrichi)

 
     

gall midge (Harmandiola cavernosa)

 
     

giant crane fly (Tipula abdominalis)

 
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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)

 
     

horse fly (Tabanus spp.)

 
Profile Photo Photo

hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)

 
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hoverfly (Helophilus hybridus)

 
     

hoverfly (Helophilus latifrons)

 
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hoverfly (Syrphus torvus)

 
Profile Photo  

hunchback bee fly (Lepidophora lutea)

 
     

large crane fly (Tipulidae)

 
     

leaf miner fly (Liriomyza eupatoriella)

 
     

linden wart gall midge (Contarinia verrucicola)

 
     

oak leaf gall midge (Polystepha globosa)

 
Profile Photo Photo

oak leaf gall midge (Polystepha pilulae)

 
Profile Photo  

ocellate gall midge (Acericecis ocellaris)

 
Profile Photo Photo

red-tailed flesh fly (Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis)

 
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robber fly (Family Asilidae)

 
Profile Photo  

small dung fly (Family Sphaeroceridae)

 
Profile Photo  

syrphid fly (Pseudodoros clavatus)

 
Profile Photo Photo

syrphid fly (Toxomerus geminatus)

 
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syrphid fly (Toxomerus marginatus)

 
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tachinid fly (Family Tachinidae)

 
     

tachinid fly (Compsilura concinnata)

 
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tiger crane fly (Nephrotoma ferruginea)

 
     

willow cabbagegall midge (Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides)

 
Profile Photo Photo

willow pinecone gall midge (Rabdophaga strobiloides)

 
     

willow rosette gall midge (Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides)

 
     

winter crane fly (Trichocera spp.)

 
         

           

 

Profile= Profile

Photo = Photo

Photo = Video

 

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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