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View Thread :: Identification queries :: Diptera (adults)
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Spider, tiny flies and behavioural question
#1 Print Post
Posted on 25-07-2005 17:34

Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 466
Joined: 20.06.05

I'd be interested to have your comments on this picture I took some weeks ago of a Thomisus onustus spider feasting on a bee. But what interests me most are the small flies in attendance. I'd be interested to know what they are and especially what they are doing in what would seem to be a thoroughly uncomfortable position! Thanks in advance, Sarah
Jan Willem
#2 Print Post
Posted on 25-07-2005 17:57
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Location: Waalwijk, The Netherlands
Posts: 2087
Joined: 24.07.04

The flies are probably Milichiidae. See also:

This site is set up by Irina Brake, who can probably tell you much more about the behaviour of these flies.

Jan Willem
#3 Print Post
Posted on 25-07-2005 18:04

Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 466
Joined: 20.06.05

Thanks Jan. I've taken a look at the site and it certainly looks as if they are Milichiidae. Yet another example of the extraordinary richness and adaptive powers of the Diptera. I've sent a copy of the photo to Irina for her confirmation, if she adds anything of interest, I'll post it here. Thanks again, Sarah
Paul Beuk
#4 Print Post
Posted on 25-07-2005 23:40
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Super Administrator

Location: Netherlands
Posts: 19145
Joined: 11.05.04

They are almost certainly Desmometopa. Species of this genus are often found on bees that have fallen prey to spiders (either crab spiders or in webs), robber flies or hunting bugs.

- - - -

Paul Beuk on
#5 Print Post
Posted on 26-07-2005 05:45

Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 466
Joined: 20.06.05

Thanks Paul. I find this behaviour quite fascinating and wish I'd managed to get more photos of the flies themselves, rather than just as an accompaniment to the main drama. Hopefully though I will come across them again, Sarah
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