Soldier Fly – Nemotelus kansensis

Soldier Fly – Nemotelus kansensis
Family Stratiomyidae – soldier flies,  stratiome

Live adult female and male flies photographed in the wild at DuPage County, Illinois, USA.

Male Soldier Fly - Nemotelus kansensis

Flies in the family Stratiomyidae are commonly called soldier flies (after Greek stratiotes, soldier, refering to the abdominal markings resembling military uniform hash marks). Stratiomyids range worldwide on every continent, save Antarctica, in 400 genera containing ~1500 species [1].

Ranging from 3 to 28mm long, [2] adults are almost always found on flowers, where they use their jointed proboscis to suck nectar to fuel their amorous activities. Wings are held scissors-like over the back while at rest, and are transparent (hyaline), darkened, with a blackish tinge (infuscate), or with a distinct pattern [2].

Antennae are highly variable in shape, with scape and pedicel short, flagellum with 5-6 flagellomeres (this species has 5), sometimes with an apical or arista-like stylus [1][2].

Soldier fly larvae are almost all aquatic, feeding on decaying organic matter. Some larvae of terrestrial species feed on dung, rotten fruit, and decomposing plant material. Other stratiomyid species have carnivorous larvae [1].

Male Soldier Fly - Nemotelus kansensis
Male = 4mm
Female Soldier Fly - Nemotelus kansensis
Female = 5mm
Nemotelus kansensis exhibits sexual dimorphism in color and markings. Males' compound eyes often holoptic, as here. Female soldier fly taking nectar at annual sowthistle
Haltere is the large white blob just under the wing root.

  1., Family Stratiomyidae
  2. Norman E. Woodley, “STRATIOMYIDAE (soldier flies) .pdf
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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