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Fly on the wall

December 8, 2017

This rather large and strikingly-patterned fly was spotted resting on the brick wall of our house the other day. Thanks to fellow Focus on Fauna blogger Ronlit, we think it is a Golden Head Rutilia Fly, Rutilia argentifera. The species name argentifera would suggest silver, not gold, but perhaps it refers to the whitish/silver spots on the body, rather than the yellow head.

The Golden Head Rutilia Fly is primarily a nectar feeder, but was unfortunately not seen during our participation in the recent Wild Pollinator Count, a citizen science project which involves observing which insects visit a selected flower or group of flowers over a ten-minute period. What we did see is the native bee fly pictured at right (click on the photo for a closer look) which, with the help of Karen at the WPC, we think may be an Australiphthiria species. Bee flies (family Bombyliidae) are also nectar and pollen feeders and our example was seen on Sticky Everlasting, Xerochrysum viscosum. We tend to think of bees and perhaps wasps as the main plant pollinators, but flies also play a major role. In fact we’ve just learnt that flies won the most numbers in this spring’s Wild Pollinator Count!

Together with Ronlit’s previous post on Long-legged Flies, you can begin to get an idea of the wonderful diversity and value of flies (order Diptera) – there’s a great deal more than just blowies and bushflies!

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