Sonoran Desert Diptera

One pair of wings (other flying insect groups have two pairs). In place of second pair of wings are a pair of halteres - a knobbed end rod - used to maintain balanced flight. Mouth parts are modified for lapping or piercing sucking. Astounding number of species. Just a pathetic few in guide so far ...

Eye Gnat


 © by Mike Plagens

Very small shiny black or yellow flies that get into eyes of hikers and range cattle. Common esp. late spring. More info ...

Long-Legged Fly

Condylostylus sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Iridescent, small, green-blue flies that seem to dance upon sunny leaf surfaces. Common near moist environments. More info ...

House Fly

Musca domestica

photo © by Mike Plagens

Abundant fly around farm operations and human habitations. Sponging-lapping mouthparts. More info ...

Leaf Miner Fly


 © by Mike Plagens

Minute black or black and yellowish flies that mine inside leaves or else in developing seeds. More info ...

Fruit Fly

Euaresta sp.

 © by M Plagens

Small flies with patterned wings often seen flitting about on flower heads going to seed. More info ...

Ambrosia Seed Maggot

Euaresta stigmatica

Ambrosia Seed Maggot Tephritidae © by Mike Plagens

The larvae (maggots) feed in the flower heads of ragweeds and bursage (Ambrosia spp.). More info ...

Chloropid Fly

Thaumatomyia sp.

Thaumatomyia © by Mike Plagens

A small fly when examined closely is colorful and fascinating. More info ...

Vinegar Fly

Drosophila melanogaster

 © by Mike Plagens

The familiar fruit fly of kitchens and biology labs. Uses fermenting fruits as larval food. More info ...

Signal Fly

Senopterina sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Small flies with marked wings that are fluttered as the insect runs about. More info ...

Stable Fly

Stomoxys calcitrans

stable fly © by Mike Plagens

The larva breeds in moist, decaying plant matter. The adults bite to get a blood meal. More info ...

Green Bottle Fly

Lucilia sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Iridescent green flies common around flowers, feces, and carrion. Attracted also to meat as say at a BBQ. Larvae in decomposing flesh. More info ...

Bot Fly

Cuterebra sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Very large, mostly black flies most often seen at hilltops. Harmless as adults. Larvae parasitic within mammals. More info ...

Soldier Fly

Hermetia illucens

 © by Mike Plagens

Large, jet-black fly, rather clumsy in flight. Attracted to moist, decomposing plant material. More info ...

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Robber Fly


 © by Mike Plagens

Active flies that alight on prominent points and sally out to catch smaller insects on the wing. Legs with stout tarsal claws at feet. Many kinds in the Sonoran Desert. More info ...

Robber Fly


 © by Mike Plagens

The larger version is mostly white and dark gray. Seen along desert washes. More info ...

Robber Fly

Saropogon mohawki

 © by Mike Plagens

Active flies that alight on prominent points and sally out to catch smaller insects on the wing. Legs with stout tarsal claws at feet. More info ...

Giant Robber Fly


 © by Mike Plagens

Large predatory fly that gives chase to and catches other insects on the wing. More info ...

Cactus Fly

Copestylum mexicanum

 © by Mike Plagens

Large, shiny black fly with two-toned wings. Visits flowers for nectar in late summer and fall. Larva stage develops inside rotting cactus. More info ...

Hover Fly


 © by Mike Plagens

These harmless flies resemble honey bees. More info ...

Hover Fly

Eupeodes volucris

 © by Laurie Nessel

These flies are common on composite flowers and look like small bees. More info ...

Hover Fly


Toxomerus © by Mike Plagens

Small, delicate, brightly colored fly that is often seen visiting flowers. More info ...

Tachinid Fly


 © by Mike Plagens

Ordinary-looking flies that visit flowers or alight on vegetation. Parasitic as larvae in caterpillars and other insects. More info ...

Small Tachinid

Siphona sp.

a flower-loving tachinidae © by Mike Plagens

A diminutive tachinid that was on the wing in December. Extended proboscis for taking flower nectar. More info ...

Bee Fly

 © by Mike Plagens

Many kinds of flies visit flowers for nectar and are important pollinators. More info ...


Paravilla cinerea

 © by Mike Plagens

Bee-flies are active during sunny weather; they hover and land on the soil or else pay visit to flowers. Wings often with markings. Many, many kinds in Sonoran Desert, More info ...


Villa sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Hovers close to ground and alights often in sunny spot, sometimes on moist soil. More info ...

Black Speckled Bee-fly

Anthrax sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

The carbon-black wing spots and body make it conspicuous. Hovers near ground. Harmless to people. More info ...

Very Large Bee-Fly


Poecilanthrax fly photo © by Mike Plagens

These robust flies rest in the sunshine sitting often close to the ground. May be beneficial to farmers. More info ...

Very Small Bee-Fly

Geron sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Very small hovering fly partial to flowers. Long mouthparts for taking nectar. More info ...

Very Small Bee-Fly

Geron sp. #2

 © by Mike Plagens

Another Geron species, this one's humped back is covered with gold-flecked setae (hairs). More info ...

Small Bee-Fly

Poecilognathus spp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Moisture and probably some additional nutrients draw these small flower loving flies to probe the anthers of flowers. More info ...

Paired Bee-flies

Anastoechus sp.

 © by Mike Plagens

A long slender proboscis for sipping nectar and hairy body. Sometimes two are joined. More info ...

Crane Fly

Tipula spp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Large slow-flying insects look like a giant mosquito with very long legs. Common to abundant in spring in the desert. More info ...

Stilt-legged Fly


 © by Laurie Nessel

Small, delicate flies found in display on vegetation near damp spots. Look in Sonoran Desert riparian habitats. More info ...

Gall Midge

Asphondylia spp.

 © by Mike Plagens

Minute, mosquito-like flies as adults. As larvae they live inside plant tissues and cause formation of various gall structures. Many kinds on a wide variety of plants. More info ...

Odora Gall Midge

Asphondylia sp.

On freshly growing stems of Odora swellings are cause by feeding larvae of a small midge fly. More info ...

Dark-winged Fungus Gnat


photo © by Mike Plagens

Minute gnats that frequent areas of damp soil including potted plants, compost and margins of riparian streams. More info ...

Yellow Fever Mosquito

Aedes aegypti

 © by Mike Plagens

Small, aggressive, blood sucker that is often abundant in Sonoran Desert cities. Bites ankles especially. Black with white spots. More info ...

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2022.