A Beautiful Fly

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Some of you may view the title to today’s post as an oxymoron but bear with me.

I set out yesterday afternoon to photograph dragonflies and drew nothing but blanks in that department.  Oh, they were there, all right, but no one was in a particularly cooperative mood.  I wound up wistfully watching dragonflies sitting on perches that were separated from me by 20 feet of water or impenetrably dense brush.

However, I didn’t come back empty handed.  While I was hunting dragonflies a bit of movement on a reed caught my attention.  I looked closely and saw a small fly, about 1/4 inch long.  It posed for me cooperatively, so I decided to make an image.


When we think of flies, most of us, I suspect, tend to think of common House Flies.  Our general reaction to these insects is something ranging from indifference to disgust.  That’s a shame because flies, members of the order Diptera, are incredibly diverse.  There are about 17,000 species of fly just in North America, they come in every conceivable shape and color, and they fill just about every ecological niche.  There are predatory flies, omnivorous flies, and flies that subsist solely on plant matter.  They range in size from about an inch down to nearly microscopic.  There are flies that mimic other species of insects.  And, as is the case with this individual, there are flies that are very beautiful when viewed closely.

This fly appears to be a member of the genus Syrphus.  It is sometimes known as a “flower fly.”   It is regarded as a wasp mimic, because to the casual observer it resembles a small wasp or a Yellow Jacket.  It is stingless.  As an adult, it subsists mainly on plant nectar and flower pollen.  As a larva, this fly eats aphids and so, it is considered to be a beneficial insect.

Whatever, it is gorgeous and I was pleased to capture its image.

Image made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite and stabilized by monopod, M setting ISO 160, f11 @ 1/160.

2 responses to “A Beautiful Fly”

  1. Tom Munson says :

    Terrific image, Steve. This looks like a Syrphid Fly or bee mimick.

  2. tkiiatmindspringcom says :

    Great shot of a tiny insect!

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