Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Conops tibialis Say 1829 (1823 sometimes given erroneously, see "Remarks" section below)
Conops nigricornis Wiede., 1830
Conops fulvipennis Macq., 1843
Conops lugubris Macq., 1843
Adult body mostly black, with thin white, posterior bands on abdominal segments one and two; tibiae whitish at base.
Wings dark anteriorly, including entire discal cell (see "dm" here
). Humeral corners of thorax typically dark/black, with little or no pollinose dusting.
Lateral edges of face and frons white. Facial grooves black (see "fg" here
). Cheeks uniformly black.
Eastern US and southeastern Canada (in US, from WI south to TX, and east to MA and FL(1)
; in Canada s.e. ON)
Adults visit flowers of herbaceous plants during the day
Adults in June and July (in OH & WV)
Reported to parasitize workers of the bumble bees Bombus bimaculatus, B. griseocollis and B. impatiens [Malfi et. al. (2014)]
This eastern species is perhaps the most frequently encountered species of Physocephala in our area, with more BugGuide posts than any other.
Say's original 1829 description appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol 6, pg 171. It can be read here
. Williston gave a more detailed description of P. tibialis
For a discussion of what appear to be aberrant reddish forms of P. tibialis
, see this forum article
Note some references [e.g. Parsons (1948) and Camras (1957)] erroneously state the original description date as 1823 and give "Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phil., v 4, pg 83
" as the source...but that's the date and source for the original description of Conops sagittaria
, not C. tibialis
. (A.S. 1/20/13)
can look very similar, but it can be distinguished by having (most of) the discal cell of the wing hyaline, and the facial grooves pale (whitish to yellowish):
The discal cell is entirely dark in P. tibialis
(cf. 1st couplet of key here
), as illustrated below:
has conspicuous red coloration...widely on the forehead, on the thorax, and on the legs...and is usually more "robust looking". The forum post here
may be of interest.
Gibson, J.F., Slatosky, A.D., Malfi, R.L., Rooulston, T., & Davis, S.E. (2014). Eclosion of Physocephala tibialis
(Say) (Diptera): Conopidae) from a Bombus
(Apidae: Hymenoptera) host: A video record J. ent. Soc. Ont. Volume 145: 49-58. (Full text
Malfi, R.L., Davis, S.E., and Roulston, T.H. (2014). Parasitoid fly induces manipulative grave-digging behaviour differentially across its bumblebee hosts. Animal Behaviour 92: 213–220.
Parsons, C. T. (1948). "A Classification of North American Conopidae", Ann. Ent. Soc. Am., Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 223-246 (Full Text
Camras, S. (1957). "A review of the New World Physocephala (Diptera: Conopidae)". Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 50:213-218.
Presence in OH and WV
and seasonality (W.B. Bond)
Presence in IL
(Flower-visiting Insects of Prairie Coreopsis, John Hilty)