Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flyblown Thursday: Picture-winged Flies

Pseudotephritis corticalis (Loew, 1873) - a pretty fly with no common name
The world is full of attractive and harmless flies, although many are small enough that one never notices them unless they are an inveterate fly-perver. This tiny, but very attractive picture-winged fly (family Ulidiidae) was hanging out on the wall of our cabin last June. The generic name implies that it looks like a real fruit fly (Tephritidae - as opposed to a pomice fly in the Drosophilidae), but isn't and the species name suggests that it is associated with bark. This is true of many picture-winged flies in the Ulidiidae (once called Otitidae) whose larvae breed in decaying wood, but picture-wings occur in many families of True Flies (Diptera) and not all Ulidiidae like logs.
Seioptera vibrans (L.) a less spectacular, but still nice Ulidiidae
For example, there is Seioptera vibrans (L.), which likes to breed in rotting vegetation and dung and so finds people their friends. There's also a larger speciesCeroxys latiusculus (Loew, 1873), with nicely patterned wings that tends to enter homes and gather at windows. I suppose this is annoying, but the larvae feed on the seed heads of composite flowers, so they really aren't usually a pest and are much more attractive than House Flies. Anyway, Ulidiidae is one of the families of flies that are more fun than annoying and sometimes a treat.


  1. The internet works in weird ways; I was just asked to ID a fly by someone via email on Monday, and I came up with a Pseudotephritis determination based on their description, and now you post a lovely photo and some info!

    1. I agree, sometimes it is very weird, as if the ether were pulsing to some strange harmony.

  2. That's what's interesting today's technology works. Flies are not so evil after all. They have its beautiful side. Excellent photography.