Mt. Washington, Coos County, New Hampshire, USA
July 6, 2007
Size: est 4-5mm to wingtips
While crawling along the mossy floor of the middle krummholz forest zone around 4,000 ft elevation I spotted a plastic bottle of chocolate milk whose freshness date seemed to have expired. Doubtful that anyone else had come this far off the trail I at first marveled at the 1. mighty heave or 2. fierce wind gust that had brought this debris so far. Then I noticed the toothmarks of a fox or raccoon that had obviously carried the bottle from a nearby Auto Road turnoff, chewed up the bottom, and had a chocolate treat. I saw the bottle as a peice of trash that I could carry out and dispose of properly. I put it into one of my small nylon stuff bags that I used for bark and fungus specimens, then forgot all about it for 12 days or so.
Before tossing the bottle out I decided to see if any arthropods had taken up residence in it. Some of these little flies, both live and dead, plus puparia that looked about their size, tumbled out of the chewed-up bottom of the bottle as I whacked it on the counter. The residue in the bottle obviously attracted at least one gravid fly of this species that had laid eggs in the spoiling milk. In case they are an unrecognized species, perhaps they could be called chocolati for their species name ;-)
You will spot some other arthropods in these images: a pryrochroid larva in this one and ciids in several others. All were collateral benefits in my Forest Service-approved search for Py*tho str*ictus