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ID for Banded-leg Asilid? - Lestomyia

ID for Banded-leg Asilid? - Lestomyia
Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station, Claremont, Los Angeles County, California, USA
March 30, 2010
Size: ~7.5 mm
This lovely little robber fly was found clinging to a stem on the perimeter a large open field. Due to the cool, overcast conditions, it was quite easy to photograph and I actually almost thought it might be dead until I poked it and got it to move a little bit. (*grin*) My beginner's guess would be that this is one of the Lestomyia species, but I'm hoping Dr. Fisher can confirm that for me. (If I'm correct about the genus, I don't think a species ID is very possible, but I do have other images that I could post if they would prove useful...)

Images of this individual: tag all
ID for Banded-leg Asilid? - Lestomyia ID for Banded-leg Asilid? - Lestomyia ID for Banded-leg Asilid? - Lestomyia ID for Banded-leg Asilid? - Lestomyia ID for Banded-leg Asilid? - Lestomyia

Moved from Flies.

Indeed, a Lestomyia sp.; good
Indeed, a Lestomyia sp.; good ID and great photos Harsi! Unfortunately, this genus is too poorly known taxonomically at present to enable species level identification. By the way, this seems to be unusual behavior for a Lestomyia: usually they are found perching directly on the soil.

Thanks for the ID confirmation, Eric!
Since having photographed this individual, I have had the opportunity to view many more (presumed) Lestomyia at this same location... And, just as you described, they have all been perched on the dry ground. This fly was probably only a few feet off the ground at most, but I can only speculate as to why it chose the unusual perch -- something to do with the cloudy, cool weather perhaps?

Lovely set of images.
Lovely set of images.

Thanks for the kind words, Stephen!
I absolutely adore the rare overcast days here in southern California because it's usually warm enough that there are plenty of insects about, but just cool enough that they are not particularly inclined to move when you stick a camera lens in their face. (*grin*)

"I absolutely adore the rare overcast days here in southern California..."

You could have a hundred or so of ours!
Generally, until late May or June, we have periods of sun, often with too much wind.

I know what you mean about the soft light, though. Around here, it's called Northwest light. Things sometimes seem to glow.

In the field on sunny days, I carry a 6x8 piece of translucent plastic in my back pocket as a sun diffuser. If you can manage the diffuser in one hand, the camera in the other hand and the insect doesn't spook at the partial shadow or your approach, it can make a nice difference from those overly contrasty shots. (Though I do like the occasional fly noir photo.)

It is definitely all about the lighting!
I've lived in southern California for most of my life, so I'm not sure if I would get tired of the gloomy/rainy weather that would accompany moving to the pacific northwest. I do know that I wouldn't miss the incredibly dry and hot summer/fall season that we get out here. My husband has always wanted us to move up that direction, so I may just get to find out if it's to my liking or not. (*smile*) As far as wind goes, I share your frustrations on that count as I live in a canyon and it is nearly always breezy and occasionally the gusts can be quite strong.

Thanks for the do-it-yourself diffuser tip. If you are at all familiar with my submissions, you'll know that I spend a fair bit of time rescuing the insects from my landlord's pool. I use a semi-translucent, white, plastic plate to scoop them out and I've found that by placing that same plate between the insect I want to shoot and the sun, I can create some really nice, soft lighting. Cheap, but very effective!

You would not like the rain!
I tell people I'm in Tucson because I'm making up for the 27 years of rain and clouds I grew up with in Portland! Plus, the insect diversity west of the Cascades is not nearly as good as even a deciduous forest, not even as good as east of the Cascades.

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