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Terror of the Salix

Terror of the Salix
Trenton, Cache County, Utah, USA
September 8, 2009

Images of this individual: tag all
Terror of the Salix Terror of the Salix


Moved from ID Request.

Nice action shot!
This must be a syrphid fly larva (examples here). I think the aphids are a Pterocomma species such as the black willow aphid.

It looks like a syrphid larva and it is feeding on aphids. That tail appendage puzzles me; I haven't seen one like it in other syrphid larvae. Perhaps the spiracles are unusually long and they appear as just one although they are a pair. I wish that more detail were visible.

Its not uncommon
In Immature Insects several illustrations of the larvae in Syrphidae have posterior spiracles with a tube-like projection and it is described as occuring in many terrestrial species (Its much larger in aquatic species, they actually have a tail) The posterior spriacles are fused or very close together in all syrphids, so if you were to look at the tube straight on (and probably under more magnification) you'd see the pair of spiricles.

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