Picture-winged Fly – Delphinia picta

Picture-winged Fly – Delphinia picta
Family Ulidiidae
(Otitidae) — picture-winged flies
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Live adult picture-winged flies photographed at Oregon, Illinois, USA.

Delphinia picta ovipositor is approximately 1.25 mm long
Several of the native North American picture-winged flies in the family Ulidiidae are often confused with fruit flies in the family Tephritidae. While the females of most species of Tephritidae oviposit in living, healthy plant tissue and their larvae live and feed in various parts of the plant, the larvae of most species of Ulidiidae are saprophagous. That is, they feed on dead and decaying organic materials. There are approximately 127 species of Ulidiidae in North America.

However, a few, such as Tritoxa flexa and Tetanops myopaeformis (Röder), attack living plant tissue. One of the picture-winged flies most often mistaken for a true fruit fly, some of which are important pests of citrus and other fruit, is Delphinia picta (Fabricius). Although the larvae of this fly have been collected from fallen ripe plums, well decayed, D. picta larvae do not attack fresh, healthy fruit.

Detailed descriptions of the egg, three larval instars and puparium are given by Allen and Foote (1967). The adult is readily recognized by the distinctive wing pattern, shiny blackish-brown with slight overtones of yellow in a few places on a hyaline background. Average length of wing is 6 mm and average body length from head to tip of abdomen excluding the ovipositor is 7 mm. Head and thorax are light brown; abdomen black; legs light brown to yellowish-brown.

Larvae of this fly feed on accumulations of decayed, sodden vegetation lying on the surface of the ground or partially buried in the soil, on rotting fruit, and on other kinds of decomposing vegetation, including bulbs of commercial onions and wild garlic. In northeastern Ohio, adults were found most commonly on herbaceous vegetation near garbage dumps and refuse heaps. A few were taken in deciduous woodlands and at the edges of wooded swamps. (1)

1. H.V. Weems, Jr., Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, DPI Entomology Circular 96.
Flies of North America – Order Diptera. Flies are prevalent in virtually all habitats, with over 16,000 species in North America. Flies can be distinguished from all other insects in that they only have one pair of normal wings. Most flies have compound eyes and mouthparts adapted for piercing, lapping or sucking fluids.
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