Tag Archives: fly

You’re Not

"Tachinid Fly, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta."

Why not?

(Photographed on a sign at a in-situ dinosaur fossil display, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta.)

Posted in Alberta, Diptera, Insect, macro, Provincial Park, Summer, Tachinidae, White Studio Also tagged |

Conopid Capture Capture


Conopid Fly with 'Prey'

Deep in the foliage at the back of the garden border I glimpsed a distorted pattern on one of the leaves. Looking closer I saw that it was a Conopid fly (probably Physocephala furcillata) with another captured Conopid. Otherwise known as Thick-headed flies, this particular species is a known parasite of solitary bees. I don’t know whether this was an attempt at parasitism (note extended ovipositor) or a territorial battle, but when my flash bumped the leaves, both flew off. One sped out of the garden and the other resumed its post near the flowers.

Conopid on Duty

From Wikipedia:

The larvae of all conopids are internal parasites, most of aculeate (stinging) Hymenoptera. Adult females aggressively intercept and deposit eggs on their hosts in-flight, and the female’s abdomen is modified to form what amounts to a “can opener” to pry open the segments of the host’s abdomen as the egg is inserted.

Posted in Diptera, garden, Parasitism, Summer, Web LInk Also tagged , , , , , |


A few things have changed on the  blog since its inception, mostly in the pages (see tabs above):

  • The About page has been updated
  • I have added a Books page for publications that I have found useful or inspirational.
  • Both the BugWeb and MacroWeb pages have new additions.

Comments, critiques and contributions are welcome.

Young Misumena vatia with prey

Young Misumena vatia with prey

Posted in Blog Also tagged , , , , |

Rock Flipping at Rampart Creek

While camping in the Rampart Creek campground on the Icefields Parkway, I did a bit of rock-flipping. There was sparse pickin’s, but I found these two under one rock. Not disturbed by the sudden inversion of their world, the fly, which had a mantid-like stance, immediately pounced on the winged ant (Formica sp.) I quickly brushed them into my macro studio, which separated them, and they declined to perform after that. But neither flew away either – the ant due to a possible misplaced wing and the fly due to its nature – according to Stephen Marshall’s book¹ the fly, called Tachydromia (sub-family Tachydrominae) is an ant-like predator,  and, “Although fully winged, they are reluctant to fly.“, which matches the behaviour of my specimen as well.

(Thanks to James Glasier and Jason Dombroskie at the University of Alberta for helping to ID the wee beasties)

(Nikon D80 with a 50mm F1.8 Zuiko lens reverse mounted on a Tamron 90mm macro lens and Kenko Pro 1.4x teleconverter. Lighting – Nikon SB-600 with wide-angle diffuser. Subjects in white bowl.)

¹ Marshall, Stephen A. 2006. Insects. Their Natural History and Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America. Firefly Books ISBN-13: 978-1552979006
Posted in Alberta, Autumn, Diptera, Hymenoptera, Insect, National Park, White Studio Also tagged , , , , |

Studio Volunteer

I have just returned from a 5 day trip to the Banff section of the Icefields Parkway. I based myself at the Rampart Creek campground, and the most visible and prolific late season insect there was this hoverfly (Family Syrphidae, probably an Eristalis sp.). Many volunteered for duty by landing on and in my white studio, so I took advantage of them…

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

More on my trip will be posted at Voyages Around My Camera and other bugs will be presented here as time permits.

(Nikon D80 with Tamron 90mm DI macro lens on Kenko Pro 1.4x converter. Lighting provided by a Nikon SB-600 flash with a Lumiquest Softbox. All adjustments made in Adobe Lightroom)

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Posted in Alberta, Autumn, Canada, Diptera, macro, National Park, White Studio Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

A Thick-headed Fly (but no dolt…)

(Extracted and adapted from a previous post at Voyages Around My Camera)

Thick-headed fly, likely Physocephala furcillata

Thick-headed fly, likely Physocephala furcillata

While it is a flower feeder, this thick-headed fly (likely Physocephala furcillata of the Family Conopidae)  is a parasite of solitary bees and sometimes wasps. It can attack in mid-air, bringing its victim to the ground. It then forces eggs between the abdominal segments where the parasitic larva will later develop.

(Thanks to Jason Dombroskie at the U of Alberta for the I.D. Taken with a Nikon D80 with the Tamron 90mm macro lens on a Kenko Pro 1.4x tele-converter and a Nikon SB-600 flash with Lumiquest soft box)

28/12/09 . See more on this fly at  The Home Bug Gardener

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Posted in Alberta, Diptera, Insect, Summer Also tagged , , , , , , , , |