A Few More Flies

Flies have two wings and although there are a few wingless fly species, there are no four-winged flies (and the majority of non-fly insects that do have wings have four of them). Flies practice Complete Metamorphosis, morphing from egg to larva (a legless, cylindrical “maggot”) (maggot—such a prejudicial term) to pupa to adult.

A Few Flies

Flies belong to the Order Diptera. They have two, membranous forewings and vestigial hind wings that have been reduced to knobs called “halteres” (which help the insect balance). They have mouthparts that may be adapted for piercing, lapping or sponging. In this episode, mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies, and black horse flies are featured.

Tachinid Fly (Family Tachinidae)

When you are scrutinizing the prairie flowers in late summer and you spy a “plus-sized” fly with a teeny tiny tutu, it’s probably a Tachinid fly. Instead of laying their eggs in another insect’s nest, they lay one to two eggs in an unsuspecting caterpillar’s “hard-to-reach spots”. The maggots live as internal parasites, consuming their hosts’ less important tissues first and not finishing off the vital organs until they are ready to pupate.

Crane Fly (Family Tipulidae)

Crane Fly adults look disconcertingly like monster mosquitoes gathered on screens, but they don’t sting, and some species do not even eat. Aquatic crane fly maggots eat decaying vegetation or small invertebrates and are eaten by fishes. Crane flies have two tiny, stemmed knobs called haltare on their thorax (look carefully at the picture); these are a vestigial second pair of wings, and they are used for balance.