Copulating pair of Taeniaptera trivittata, a type of still-legged fly (Micropezidae). Males (or females, according to one source) apparently brush the eyes of the partner during mating, though this frame didn’t capture that. When flitting around leaves they wave their white-tipped forelegs and look just like small ichneumon wasps. They have thin waists but the pattern on their wings makes them look even thinner, waspier. Known to feed on rotting Typha, which was abundant nearby (John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Tinicum, PA).
If you come across a pair, please take a video so I can see the legs in action. I like to watch, and I know of others who are interested in this species.
Huge thanks to John S. Ascher and John F. Carr on Bugguide.net for help identifying them.
Posted in Biology, Photography, Science
Tagged ant mimic, copulating, diptera, entomology, flies, fly, ichneumon, ichneumonid, insect, mating, Micropezidae, mimic, mimicry, still-leg flies, stilt-legged flies, Taeniaptera trivittata, thin-waisted, wasp mimic
I LOVE this clearwing moth. The raspberry crown borer (Pennisetia marginata) is a Batesian mimic of (I think) Vespula maculifrons and V. pensylvanica, our native yellow jackets. If you’re mildly impressed by the resemblance, you should see them in flight or walking around a leaf. They have completely nailed the cocky, jerky yellow jacket attitude. I can’t seem to find a video to link to, but this is a related species. If you live near a big patch of raspberry or blackberry, go look for them right now … they are out mating and laying eggs.
Posted in Biology, Gardening, Photography, Science
Tagged Batesian mimicry, blackberry, blackberry clearwing borer, caneberry, female, lepidoptera, mimic, Pennisetia marginata, pest, raspberry, raspberry crown borer, sesiidae, Vespula, wasp, yellow jacket, yellowjacket
Saw this fly ovipositing onto a recently toppled tree, in Clayton Park, New Jersey. Pretty sure it’s Milesia virginiensis (Diptera), the yellowjacket hover fly. It was large enough, though, to gave me pause for a few seconds. Syrphids I’m familiar with are much smaller, and never really register as wasps. A rather convincing mimic.