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Species Plecia nearctica - Lovebug

Plecia nearctica - male - female Love Bugs - Plecia nearctica - male - female Bibionidae -? - Plecia nearctica - female Lovebug - Plecia nearctica - female Love Bugs - Plecia nearctica - male - female BioBlitz Bug 21 - Plecia nearctica - female Plecia nearctica - male - female Lovebug - Plecia nearctica
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Nematocera" (Non-Brachycera))
Infraorder Bibionomorpha (Gnats, Gall Midges, and March Flies)
Family Bibionidae (March Flies)
Genus Plecia (Lovebugs)
Species nearctica (Lovebug)
Explanation of Names
Plecia nearctica Hardy 1940
Identification
black ventrally and laterally on the thorax, unlike in P. americana (see below)
Range
Abundant at times along se US coast (SC-FL-TX; map)(1); apparently only invaded Florida and Georgia/South Carolina starting in the 1940's (Buschman, 1976).
Remarks
Large swarms along the Gulf Coast are attracted to roads and are considered a nuisance


There are a number of popular myths about this species, including that it was a lab creation designed to control mosquitoes. See Levine (2014) and University of Florida articles linked in Internet references below for debunking. The myths were likely fueled by the comparatively recent (1940's) invasion of this species into Florida and the Southeastern US. See Buschman (1976) for a discussion of the range expansion.
See Also
Plecia americana (MO-SC) is red ventrally on the thorax, does not fly in fall, and is an uncommon woodland sp.
Print References
Hardy DE. (1940) Studies in New World Plecia (Bibionidae: Diptera). Part I. J. Kans. Ent. Soc. 13: 15-27. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25081585
Buschman, LL. (1976). Invasion of Florida by the "Lovebug" Plecia nearctica (Diptera: Bibionidae). The Florida Entomologist, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Jun., 1976), pp. 191-194 (4 pages). https://doi.org/10.2307/3493971
Internet References
Fact sheet (Denmark & Mead 2012)(2)
Levine, R. No, Lovebugs Were Not Created by Scientists. Entomology Today, 12 May 2014.