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Woodland fly - Vermileo

Woodland fly - Vermileo
Aliso and Woods Canyon, Orange County, California, USA
June 13, 2017
Halfway between Tipulidae and Sciaridae is this interesting fly. Several of these were circling around the base of a well-shaded coast live oak. I don't know what they were looking for.

Images of this individual: tag all
Woodland fly - Vermileo Woodland fly - Vermileo

I think this is V. opacus
...from the practically hyaline wings, per the keys in Pechuman(1938) and Leonard(1930).

Also, did you happen to get any views of the mouthparts? Martin mentioned in his comment here that V. opacus has white palpi...and the mouthparts are clearly white in this curated image for V. opacus from the LA Co. Museum of Natural History.

PS: Joyce...I'm looking forward to your post of P. comstocki. In particular, I hope you got a lateral view of the head, so that we can check the "black palpi" character for V. comstocki that Martin mentioned...even though the darker wings already would indicate comstocki.

images loaded

They're definitely not that cooperative. Actually, there was one under the rock that I did photograph "in situ" but I couldn't fit my lens into that small space so the images aren't so good. The one at the link above I brought home and photographed in a tent I set up in my livingroom. It kept flying away, and even in the tent it wasn't always easy to locate.

Hmmmm.... mine seem to have light colored palpi, not black. I'll try to get images posted today.

Double Hmmmm
...I wonder if there are many adult specimens at the Essig and/or CAS? It would be interesting to study variation in adults...of both color of mouthparts, and degree of infuscation in the wings. And for both males & females (to see if there may be sexual dimorphism involved).

Given how close the "Ormsby Co., NV" type-locality of V. opacus is to your locale...and to the Donner Pass locale (cf. Cole & Schlinger(1)) and Martin's Zephyr Bay find:


...I'm starting to wonder whether V. comstocki and V. opacus are truly distinct biological species? More on that in my comment under your post below:


I couldn't get a shot of that
Uncooperative :(

Oh, well...still a great find!!
First wild "in situ" post of an adult on BugGuide...and extends range southwards from LA basin area. And also to low-elevation coastal chaparral habitat within a few miles of the ocean, versus in (or at least adjacent to) high mountain ranges (although the Santa Ana Mnts are nearby).

Moreover, it's a beauty :-)

what they were looking for
Did you notice if there was soft, fine soil at the base of the tree, possibly under an overhanging root, with pits in it?

I just saw the same thing in the Sierras, in Placer County. The adults were flying around and hanging out near pits where their larvae were. The pits tend to be under slight overhangs of rocks or logs (at least, that's where I've seen them so far).

Nice find!

Not sure
During the time I watched them they just perched on leaf litter. There was fine soil but I didn't notice any pits, although I wasn't looking for any. There were overhanging roots, though.

Moved from ID Request.

The wing pattern and the body seem to be very close to this one. Your's may be a different gender. (male)
Vermileo: (California) Nice find.

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