Flies

You will be wonderfully surprised with the beauty and diversity of flies in the Southwest!

Here are some of the larger and more common fly families:

Family Bombyliidae (Bee Flies)

Mimic bees and wasps and are excellent flyers

Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, some being important pollinators. Larvae generally are parasitoids of other insects.

Family Syrphidae (Hover Flies)

Often mistaken for small bees and wasps, usually have bright colors of yellow and black, and capable of hovering in one spot.

Many species have predatory larvae with a voracious appetite for aphids, caterpillars and other soft-bodied pests. Also called Flower Flies or Syrphid Flies.

Photo by © Wikipedia

Family Tachinidae (Tachinid Flies)

A large family of flies with larvae that are parasitic on other insects (considered beneficial).

“Tachinid flies are extremely varied in appearance. Some adult flies may be brilliantly colored and resemble blow-flies (family Calliphoridae). Most however are rather drab, some resembling house flies. However, Tachinid flies commonly are more bristly and more robust. “

Family Calliphoridae (Blow Flies)

Commonly shiny with metallic coloring. The name blow fly comes from an older English term for meat that had eggs laid on it, which was said to be fly blown.

They also forage among flowers to fill up on energy-boosting nectar and protein-rich pollen, transporting pollen from one flower to another in the process.

Family Tipulidae (Crane Flies)

Long legged and sometimes confused with mosquitoes, there are over 10,000 species in the world

What Types of Flies Pollinate?

Flies are the most important pollinators after bees.

In this analysis, hoverflies visited 52 percent of the crops studied and blowflies some 30 percent. “Hoverflies and blowflies visit flowers to drink nectar, which fuels energetic activities like flying, and eat pollen to get the nutrients needed for sexual maturation.”

“Like bees, many of these flies are hairy and trap pollen on the head and thorax as they feed. Larger flies can collect — and carry — hundreds and sometimes thousands of pollen grains as they fly from flower to flower. Unlike bees, which must forage close to their hive or nest, flies don’t have to provide for their young and can roam more widely.”

All photos © George Roark unless otherwise noted

Resources:

Wikipedia

Smithsonian

How Much Do Flies Help With Pollination?

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