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Thick-headed fly - Physoconops obscuripennis - female

Thick-headed fly - Physoconops obscuripennis - Female
Lake MacBride State Park, Johnson County, Iowa, USA
June 27, 2015

Images of this individual: tag all
Thick-headed fly - Physoconops obscuripennis - female Thick-headed fly - Physoconops obscuripennis - female

Moved from Conopinae.

Moved from Flies.

Moved from ID Request.

photo of wing venation?
It might help to have an enlarged crop of your photo showing the wing venation (maybe adjusted to be lighter so that venation is easier to see). That would help to distinguish between Physocephala and Physoconops

Another image
I added the close-up of the wing, but it's rather fuzzy.

tough call
Thanks for posting the additional image. What I was trying to see was the position of crossvein r-m to see if it fit the Physocephala or Physoconops pattern. I'm not sure that I can see it with any confidence but it looks like Physoconops (kinda, sorta, maybe) which would be consistent with the large theca.
However, please don't take that as an ID because this is one for the experts.

Yep, it's Physoconops
Steve, I agree that the position of the crossvein r-m can't quite discerned in the photos here.

But, fortunately, other visible characters allow one to conclude this is indeed Physoconops. In particular, the large size of the theca does the no species of Physocephala has a theca as large as that seen projecting forward below sternite 3 in the photo here. Also, all Physocephala have a "T-shaped" marking on the frons (except sometimes in P. texana, where the "T" can become so thin and/or pale as to appear virtually absent)...but the frons here is almost entirely black (in a tongue-shaped pattern reminiscent of Physoconops obscuripennis). The deeply black tarsi and yellow pulvilli also suggest Physoconops.

There are a number of species in Physoconops with the overall black gestalt of this individual. But the small triangular indentation visible at the middle of the hind edge of the eye margin indicates this is in the nominate subgenus of Physoconops (rather than in subgenus Pachyconops...which eliminates P. bulbirostris, as does the fact that the flagellomere is definitely shorter than the pedicel).

There are 3 candidate species here in Physoconops: analis, discalis, and obscuripennis.


The two first two of these species barely make it into the US from Mexico, whereas the recorded range of obscuripennis includes Iowa. Moreover, the diffuse nature of the wing infuscation here supports obscuripennis, versus analis (which has the cells anterior to the "2nd vein (= R2+3) significantly paler) and discalis (which has more distinct demarcation between infuscated and hyaline areas).

thanks for all the info
much appreciated

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