Insect identification: Fly with eye strip

Insect identification: Fly with eye strip

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Location details: Country - India,

State - Tamil Nadu,

District- Chennai.

Found this fly in my backyard keen to know its exact name. Thanks for the help

Definitely Stratiomyidae, probably genus Odontomyia. Very widespread and species-rich genus. Here is an example of Odontomyia - not the same species -[email protected]/sets/72157632905103705/.

Fly Control Charts

Identifying Characteristics: Fungus gnats are tiny most are less than 1/16 of an inch, although some may be larger.

Host Material: The larvae feed on fungus growing in the soil and moist organic matter.

Adult Occurrence: Most abundant in warm and moist conditions

Management Methods: Chemical and Traps Methods: Residual and contact sprays baits, traps
Remove contaminated soil, breeding sites.

Identifying Characteristics: Black, shiny, with bronze tints

Host Material: Moist sources: overripe and moldy cheese, ham.

Adult Occurrence: Most abundant in warm and moist conditions

Management Methods: Pyrethrum contact and fogging sprays
Sanitation and habitat destruction

Identifying Characteristics: Superficially resemble fruit flies, but are more humpbacked

Host Material: Decaying vegetation and animal matter

Adult Occurrence: Most abundant in warmer months

Management Methods: Residual and contact sprays, drain treatment with microbes
Sanitation, habitat destruction, and moisture control

Identifying Characteristics: 1/8 inch long body and wings densely covered with long hairs

Host Material: Decaying organic matter, especially around drains and sewers

Adult Occurrence: More common in warm months

Management Methods: Residual and contact sprays, drain treatment with microbes
Sanitation, habitat destruction, and moisture control

Identifying Characteristics:1/8-inch black

Host Material: Decaying organic matter, especially moist animal manure

Adult Occurrence: More common in warm months

Management Methods: Residual and contact sprays,drain treatment with microbes
Sanitation, habitat destruction, and moisture control

Identifying Characteristics:1/4-inch long, pointed proboscis

Host Material: decaying hay, straw, fermenting weeds, grass and sea weeds

Adult Occurrence: More common in warm months,after a rain

Management Methods: Residual and contact sprays, traps
Sanitation, habitat destruction, and moisture control

Identifying Characteristics: Superficially resemble house fly but is slightly larger and more sluggish in its movements

Host Material: They are parasites of earthworms and breed outdoors in lawns and fields

Adult Occurance: Abundant in spring and fall

Management Methods: Residual and contact sprays
Screen and caulk around eaves, windows, etc.

The Different Types of Flying Insects

Order Odonata

Dragonflies and damselflies belong to the order Odonata, which are characterized by the presence of toothed jaws and very large eyes.

They are commonly found in tropical climatic conditions, particularly in areas where there is availability of freshwater.

Since the wings of these insects cannot be folded, they are referred to as ‘primitive winged’ insects.

About 5,000 insect species are identified under this order.

Order Plecoptera

Insects belonging to the order Plecoptera include various types of stoneflies.

They are classified as some of the most primitive species. The wings are membranous and are characterized by a complex venation pattern.

The larvae are aquatic in habitat and undergo metamorphosis without the pupal stage. Hence, adults are mostly found near freshwater bodies.

There are about 3,000 species of insects in this order.

Order Orthoptera

Majority of the herbivorous insects belong to the order Orthoptera. Familiar examples include grasshopper, locusts, and crickets.

They undergo complete metamorphosis and are well-known for their propelling ability they can jump more than 20 times of their body length in one go.

They are found in a terrestrial habitat.

More than 20,000 insect species are identified under this order.

Order Dictyoptera

The order Dictyoptera includes insects that have leathery wings and chewing mouthparts, like the cockroach and praying mantis.

The term itself means network wings and you can identify insects of this order from the characteristic veins present in the wings.

Dictyoptera insects are found universally and some species are strictly terrestrial.

About 6,000 species are identified under this order.

Order Phasmida

They undergo incomplete metamorphosis and can be easily identified by their camouflage.

Members belonging to this order can measure from 1 inch in length to as long as a foot.

The stick insects, named due their resemblance to sticks, are the longest insects in the world.

As of now, about 3,000 insects are identified under this order.

Order Hemiptera

Insects belonging to the order Hemiptera are characterized by their piercing and sucking mouthparts, and half membranous forewings (thick at the base and membranous at the tips).

Examples of these insects are hoppers, aphids, and water bugs.

This order includes highly diverse insects. While some are adapted to aquatic habitats, others are terrestrial.

In total, about 70,000 species are identified under this order.

Order Lepidoptera

The order Lepidoptera is the second largest order of insects and includes more than 100,000 species. Moths and butterflies belong to this insect order.

They are characterized by large eyes and wings, in which small scales overlap with each other.

Another feature of these insects is the presence of a simple eye, known as ocellus, on the top of each compound eye.

They can also be identified by their vibrantly colored wings.

Order Coleoptera

Would you like to write for us? Well, we're looking for good writers who want to spread the word. Get in touch with us and we'll talk.

The order Coleoptera represents a large insect group, comprising more than 350,000 insect species.

Beetles, glowworms, and fireflies are grouped under this order.

These insects are characterized by their hardened and thickened forewings (elytra), which cover the delicate hind wings and the entire body.

They may be aquatic or terrestrial in habit. As far as feeding is concerned, they munch plants and/or other insects.

Order Diptera

The order Diptera, also known as true flies, include mosquitoes, gnats, flesh flies, and midges.

Their characteristic feature is the presence of two pairs of wings, of which only the forewings are functional, and the hind wings are replaced by modified wings called halteres.

Other identifying traits are extra-large compound eyes and sponging or biting mouthparts.

More than 100,000 insect species are identified under this order.

Order Hymenoptera

Hymenoptera, as the name suggests, is an order that encompasses insects with membranous wings.

It is the third largest order of class Hexapoda, comprising about 100,000 species.

Hymenoptera include insects such as ants, horntail, bees, and wasps.

The two pairs of wings (forewings and hind wings) are joined via the hamuli, which are tiny hooks. Hence, at the time of flight, both the wings function in coordination.

Order Isoptera

The most common species of the order Isoptera is the termite.

They have a pair of antennae, chewing mouthparts, tapering body, and two pairs of membranous wings.

They play a major role in decomposing material in the forest ecosystem by feeding on dead and decayed plant parts.

Some species are identified as pests, as they feed on wood furniture.

In this order, there are over 3,000 insect species.

Order Trichoptera

If you come across an insect with silky hair in the wings and body, it is most likely, a species of the Trichoptera order. At the first glance, it resembles a moth, except for the hairy wings (wings of moths are scaly).

Classic examples of this insect group are caddisflies or sedges.

The larval stage of these flies is aquatic, while the adults are terrestrial and nocturnal in habit.

About 12,000 species are classified scientifically under this order.

Order Ephemeroptera

Mayflies are the only insects belonging to this order of flying insects.

The triangular-shaped membranous wings, exceptionally small hind wings, and tail like structures (2 – 3 in number) are the identifying features of mayflies. While resting on the ground, the wings are pointed upwards.

The nymph stage of mayflies is aquatic and similar to adult flies, except for the absence of wings. Adults live for a very short time, usually 1 – 2 days.

These are some of the flying insects that we come across in our surroundings. Some insects cause destruction to crops and are identified as pests. Many are referred to as ‘farmer’s friend’ as they feed on other destructive pests, indirectly increasing the crop yield. In a nutshell, both winged and wingless insects play a major role in the food chain and the overall functioning of an ecosystem.

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Flying insects flourish, both in diversity and in numbers, especially in the tropical regions. They are small in size and swarming is a commonplace activity among these social creatures.

Moths are close genetic relatives of butterflies, but are often considered annoying pests rather than beautiful wonders of nature. Read on to know more about the many types of these&hellip

Make an Insect Collection

In this article, older kids will learn how to catch, kill, and mount live insects for a collection. Younger kids can learn about insects in the article Insect Investigations for Pre K -2.

Watch this video to see a variety of tools used in making an insect collection.

From an itty-bitty bed bug to a massive atlas moth, the world of insects is crawling (and flying!) with different specimens to discover. Making an insect collection is one of the best ways to learn about insects, as you’ll observe them up-close.

What You Need:

Consider the complete Deluxe Insect Collecting Kit, which contains all items necessary to make an insect collection from the insects you catch.

Finding and Catching Insects

Spring or summer is a wonderful time to start making an insect collection! By late summer many insects have gone through their stages of metamorphosis and emerged as adults. Even though insects all have six legs and three main body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), the variety of shapes, colors, and sizes is astonishing. Insects include butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, praying mantises, beetles, dragonflies, and bees, plus many more.

Insects are abundant in many different habitats. Try looking for them…

…around water. Look for dragonflies in the air, water striders on the surface, and different kinds of water beetles on plants growing in the water. Use a fish net and/or a turkey baster to collect insects out of the water. Also look around mud puddles – lots of insects, including butterflies, will drink from them to gain necessary minerals.

…in the ground. Dig at the base of trees or plants where you have seen caterpillars before—you may find the pupae of moths in cocoons. Lift up stones or boards to find beetles or non-insects like sow bugs, spiders, and centipedes.

…on plants. Flowers attract lots of different insects, including bees and butterflies. Plants also provide homes to ladybugs, caterpillars, leafhoppers, and many more. Look for leaves that have been eaten there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find the insect who did the damage. Also check for beetles underneath loose bark on trees or around stumps. (Woodpiles are a great place to find hidden insects, too.)

…near lights. At night insects will often congregate around streetlights or porch lights.

When searching for insects outside, look on flowers, in gardens, on decaying leaves, and through the air. If looking for insects in a field, use the sweep method: Carefully swing your net through the top edge of the grass and see what you catch in the end of your net.

When attempting to catch an individual bug with a net, move slowly until you are in range. Position the net under the insect, then swing your net upward and quickly turn the handle so that the net flops over its ring and the captured insect cannot escape. If you bring the net over the insect and down to the ground, raise the end of it so that the insect can fly to the closed top, then stick a container (a killing jar, if you intend to preserve the insect in a collection) under the net and carefully move your insect down into it.

To keep a butterfly from beating its wings against the sides of a container and damaging them, you can “stun” it by pinching the thorax (the middle part of the body) with your thumbnail. This may take some practice to get right, but once you’re able to do it well you can carry stunned butterflies safely in glassine envelopes with their wings folded together.

Observing and Identifying Insects

There are about a million insect species of all different colors, shapes, and sizes! However, despite the many differences, all insects share a few basic characteristics:

  • Exoskeleton – Rather than bones inside their bodies, insects have a hard protective covering on the outside.
  • Antennae– Insects usually have one pair of antennae on their head used for touching and smelling.
  • Three body divisions – Insect bodies are divided into the head (with its eyes, mouth, and antennae), the thorax (where its legs and wings are), and the abdomen.
  • Six legs – All insects have six legs attached to their thorax.

You’ll likely find “bugs” that don’t have all these characteristics—like spiders and ticks, which have eight legs, and millipedes, which have many, many more. It’s up to you whether or not to include these bugs in your insect collection.

When observing a live insect specimen that you intend to release later, carefully put it in the Deluxe Bug Magnifier. Is its body soft or armor-covered? What are its antennae like and how does it use them? Based on its mouth, can you tell its eating habits? Does the specimen walk jerkily or quickly? If it has wings, what does its flight look like? Use these features to help you identify the insect, using a high-quality guide book.

Using a Killing Jar

First, charge the jar by adding a capful of ethyl acetate to the plaster cartridge in the bottom. Then put your insect in and quickly close the lid. After a few minutes, the insect should be dead, but you may wait a half hour before removal to be sure. Insects left in the jar for a day or more may become too soggy and wet to use. Use forceps, if you have them, to carefully take a specimen out of the killing jar. Either pin the insect immediately (see steps below) or store it in a glassine envelope until you are ready for the next step.

You may dispatch several small insects in the jar at once. But kill larger insects and butterflies separately so they don’t damage each other.

If you do not have a killing jar right now, or have caught many insects at one time, you can also try freezing one for several days in a small airtight plastic container, which works best for small crawling insects. This method takes longer, and is unreliable for large insects and butterflies.

Here’s a handy, printable guide that explains How to Pin and Spread Butterflies and Other Insects for Display.

How to Use a Spreading Board

To make sure your insects dry in the right position for display, use a spreading board and insect pins. (You can make your own spreading board with strips of cardboard.) For large winged insects like butterflies, carefully insert a pin through the right side of the thorax by gently pinching the thorax to spread the wings enough to pin it. Place the insect’s body in the groove on the board – it varies in width for different-sized insects. Gently press the wings down so they lie spread out flat, then put a thin strip of paper over each wing and pin the ends of the strip to the board. The drying process may take up to two weeks for your insect. Once the specimen has dried, remove the paper strips, but don’t try to remove the pin through the thorax! Use that pin to mount it in a display case.

Identifying and Labeling Insects

Since insects can be beautiful or strange or scary-looking, it’s fun to make a collection just for display. But if you’re making a collection for school or researching which insects live in your area, you’ll want to take the extra step to identify the specimens you collect. Take notes of where you found each insect (such as what plant it was on) while you’re out collecting, and then use an identification guide when you get home to find the scientific and common names. Write or print out a small tag (card stock or other thin cardboard works well) with the name, and attach it to the pin that you use to hold down your insect. You may also want to list the date and place where you found the insect.


Because black flies are widespread native insects, their eradication from any one locality seems unlikely. These insects are highly mobile and readily move away from breeding grounds in search of a meal. Spraying of individual yards, e.g., spraying shrubs or weedy areas or outdoor fogging, is not likely to be of much help. ULV applications of insecticides for adult black fly control may offer some temporary relief. Effective chemical control of black flies targets the breeding sites, which means it must be a community-based project. Options for chemical control of larvae are extremely limited. The only available effective treatment is a microbial pesticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis or Bti, which must be metered into the water in weekly treatments during periods of peak black fly activity. These products are also effective against mosquitoes. They provide for larval control while having little impact on other aquatic insects. These treatments can be expensive and require training to perform effectively and safely. For these reasons, large-scale larval and adult treatments are typically done by public operators hired by the municipality.

The best defense is personal protection in the form of repellents (see Insect Repellent Products). Children and pregnant women should use repellents sparingly. Black flies usually do not enter buildings in large numbers. During heavy black fly flights, you can reduce stress on livestock by sheltering the animals in stables or barns.


True flies (order Diptera) are an immense group with over 100,000 known species. They all have their hind pair of wings reduced to pin-shaped structures called halteres which act as gyroscopes to maintain balance in flight. Most feed on liquids, including nectar and blood.

The Dipterist's Forum offers a huge range of support for those interested in this group.

The families in the gallery below represent flies that are in the dipteran sub-orders Brachycera and Cyclorrhapha which are 'higher' flies, meaning later to evolve than the Nematocera which are displayed in the Craneflies, Gnats & Midges gallery. All families are displayed in taxonomic order. Note that Hoverflies (Syrphidae family) are displayed in a separate gallery.


Hummingbird clearwing moths or hawk moths (Family: Sphingidae) (Figure 5) are approximately 1 to 1½ inches long, with a robust body. Front wings are narrow, elongated and clear, with a black or brown borders and a wingspan of 1½ to 2 inches. These moths look more like hummingbirds than bees.

Figure 5. Hummingbird clearwing moth. (David Cappaert,

These moths feed using a long proboscis (tongue) to siphon the nectar. At twilight, hummingbird moths often flit from one flower to the next. Flowers that are most attractive to hummingbird moths are light-colored (white), with a strong scent, such as garden phlox.

Drosophila Melanogaster Mutation and Phenotype

The instructions that are used to build any living thing is precisely mapped out in its DNA, kind of like a blueprint that may be used by an architect to build a complex structure. The blueprint does not contain just one type of information but rather contains all the instructions needed for all aspects of the building. Likewise, each part or structure of the fruit fly has its own chromosomes (a group of genes) in the DNA which is used to construct its unique characteristics.

Drosophila Melanogaster Mutations and Sepia

If the architect of a building introduced a weakness in the structure, the entire building will suffer as a result. Likewise, each gene in each chromosome (contained within the DNA) must work together if the fruit fly is to survive. This is why altering the genetic makeup of a living thing is dangerous and often results in its death. With fruit flies however, the gene sequence has been mapped in its completion and as a result, scientists can make adjustments with a very high survival rate. I am not suggesting that the genetic mutation is always beneficial to the bug but at least it doesn’t die from the adjustments. Sometimes, genetic manipulation can even be beneficial for the species, as it can fix deformities such as flightless fruit flies and other things like that. However, the process of genetic alteration doesn’t often go down well with the general community as many feel that they are “playing God”. I always argue the fact that they are not creating new life forms but rather are just making modifications to existing ones. But that is just my personal opinion on the matter and you are feel to have your own point of view.

The Compound Eye

The arthropod (e.g., insects, crustaceans) eye is built quite differently from the vertebrate eye (and mollusk eye).

(Despite their structural differences, both insect and vertebrate eyes
depend on related genes for their development.
Link to a discussion.)

Arthropod eyes are called compound eyes because they are made up of repeating units, the ommatidia, each of which functions as a separate visual receptor.

Each ommatidium consists of

  • a lens (the front surface of which makes up a single facet)
  • a transparent crystalline cone
  • light-sensitive visual cells arranged in a radial pattern like the sections of an orange
  • pigment cells which separate the ommatidium from its neighbors.

The pigment cells ensure that only light entering the ommatidium parallel (or almost so) to its long axis reaches the visual cells and triggers nerve impulses. Thus each ommatidium is pointed at just a single area in space and contributes information about only one small area in the field of view.

There may be thousands of ommatidia in a compound eye with their facets spread over most of the surface of a hemisphere. (The photo, courtesy Carolina Biological Supply Company, shows the compound eye of Drosophila melanogaster.)

The composite of all their responses is a mosaic image &mdash a pattern of light and dark dots rather like the halftone illustrations in a newspaper or magazine. And just as in those media, the finer the pattern of dots, the better the quality of the image.

Grasshopper eyes, with relatively few ommatidia must produce a coarse, grainy image. The honeybee and dragonfly have many more ommatidia and a corresponding improvement in their ability to discriminate ("resolve") detail. Even so, the resolving ability of the honeybee eye is poor in comparison with that of most vertebrate eyes and only 1/60 as good as that of the human eye that is, two objects that we could distinguish between at 60 feet (18 m) could only be discriminated by the bee at a distance of one foot (0.3 m).

Flicker effect

The compound eye is excellent at detecting motion. As an object moves across the visual field, ommatidia are progressively turned on and off. Because of the resulting "flicker effect", insects respond far better to moving objects than stationary ones. Honeybees, for example, will visit wind-blown flowers more readily than still ones.
Link to illustrated discussion of honeybee navigation.

Resolution and Sensitivity

Arthropods that are apt to be active in dim light (e.g., crayfish, praying mantis) concentrate the screening pigments of their ommatidia into the lower ends of the pigment cells. This shift enables light entering a single ommatidium at an angle to pass into adjacent ommatidia and stimulate them also. With many ommatidia responding to a single area in the visual field, the image becomes coarser. The praying mantis probably can do little more than distinguish light and dark in the evening.

The shift in pigments does, however, make it more sensitive to light than it is in the daytime as more ommatidia can detect a given area of light.

A demonstration of color vision in honeybees. After a period of feeding from a dish placed on blue cardboard, the bees return to an empty dish on a clean blue card. They are able to distinguish the blue card from others of varying shades of gray. (Courtesy of Dr. M. Renner.)

Color vision

  • four of the visual cells in each ommatidium respond best to yellow-green light (544 nm)
  • two respond maximally to blue light (436 nm)
  • the remaining two respond best to ultraviolet light (344 nm)

Ultraviolet vision

Television camera tubes are also sensitive to ultraviolet, as well as visible light, but their glass lens is opaque to ultraviolet. (This is why you can't get tanned &mdash or synthesize calciferol &mdash from the sunlight passing through window glass.)

Using a special ultraviolet-transmitting lens, Eisner and his coworkers at Cornell have demonstrated that many insect-pollinated flowers appear to the honeybee quite different from the way they appear to us. The sharp contrasts between flowers that appear similar to us partly explains the efficiency with which honeybees secure nectar from only one species of flower at a time even when other species are also in bloom.

The photos (courtesy of Dr. Eisner) show a blackeyed susan photographed in visible light (left) and under ultraviolet light (right).

Monarch butterflies, which can migrate as much as 2500 miles (> 4000 km), navigate by ultraviolet light from the sun. When their view of the sun is through a filter that blocks out only its ultraviolet rays, their flight path becomes disoriented.

Ultraviolet vision is not limited to animals with compound eyes. A few marsupials, rodents, a bat that feeds on nectar, and many birds have also been shown to have ultraviolet vision.

Flesh Flies

Adult flesh flies are rarely problems as disease carriers, and pose little threat to human or livestock health. These pests eat nasty stuff, but they do not bite people.

Larvae and Disease

Flesh fly larvae have been known to burrow from wounds into the healthy flesh of livestock. Some species can cause intestinal infections in humans who consume food contaminated with flesh fly larvae. The pests can transmit organisms they pick up at their unsanitary feeding sites. Some examples of diseases transmitted by flesh flies include:

The presence of this pest and their preferred sources of food can add to the time and efforts that must be directed to removing decaying matter from the homeowner&rsquos property.

Signs Of Infestation

If flies are developing inside, you may see a large number of them suddenly appear. When pests such as rodents, birds, or other wildlife infest homes and die in wall voids or attics, odors and the appearance of flesh flies are often the first signs of a problem.

How Do I Get Rid of Flesh Flies?

Flesh fly prevention and control comprises both exterior and, if necessary, interior procedures. The first step in a control program is to contact your pest management professional for assistance. Your pest management professional will positively identify the offending pest, conduct an inspection and then develop an integrated pest management plan (IPM) to resolve the problem. The key components of a flesh fly IPM plan include:

  • Identification: Since not all flies have the same behavior and habitat, it is important to correctly identify the offending insect so that an effective and efficient IPM program can be put into place.
  • Inspection: Your pest management professional&rsquos inspection will provide the information and observations needed to develop the proper IPM plan.
  • Sanitation: Keep the property clean and get rid of all sources that provide flesh flies a suitable development habitat.
  • Exclusion: Seal and repair screens, holes, gaps, and any other entryway that flesh flies may use to enter the home.
  • Traps: Illuminate traps to attract and capture flies.
  • Baits: Using chemical products to treat fly resting places, using chemical fly baits and using aerosol products.

Behavior, Diet, & Habit

These pests are sometimes among the first insects to arrive at a dead animal carcass and are similar to blow flies in biology and habits. Also, forensic investigators may use the development of flesh fly larvae in a carcass or corpse to help determine time of death.

What Do They Eat?

These materials attract flesh flies and provide the ideal food source for the pests as well as a place to lay their eggs:

  • Carrion
  • Decaying feces
  • Organic waste
  • Blow fly larvae larvae
  • Grasshopper nymphs

Not commonly found in the home, flesh flies frequently infest industrial buildings like meat processing and packing facilities. Adult flesh flies don't bite humans, but they do feed on liquid substances, and may infest wounds, carrion, and excrement.

Geographic Range

Flesh flies are worldwide in distribution and are found in most regions of the United States.

Life Cycle

While the life cycle of flesh flies varies by species and location, generally the flies overwinter in their pupal stage within temperate climates and emerge as adults in the spring. Soon after becoming adults, they mate and the female flesh fly may lay eggs. More likely she will deposit 20-40 larvae that have hatched within her body which she directly lays on the carrion, feces, or rotting plant materials. A single female can produce hundreds of eggs during her lifetime.

Flesh fly larvae feed for 3 or 4 days and become pupae that burrow into nearby soil. After about 10 to 15 days, they will emerge as adults. Flesh flies go through several generations each year. Depending on the species, eggs may hatch within 24 hours and the entire life cycle of the fly may be completed within 1-2 weeks.