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Photo#88046
Soldier Fly-Honey Wasp Mimic - Hoplitimyia mutabilis

Soldier Fly-Honey Wasp Mimic - Hoplitimyia mutabilis
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Hidalgo County, Texas, USA
October 20, 2006
Size: 12 mm
Size estimated. I thought it was deer fly, but see comments--it is a soldier fly! The pattern is striking, with the bands on the abdomen and the orange-tinted wings, looks to be a mimic of the honey wasp, Brachygastra mellifica compare:

Well, following Eric's lead--now that I'm in the correct family, it looks a bit like a Hoplitimyia--that's a hypothesis! Compare such images as:

This reference mentions the neotropical Hoplitimyia mutabilis as being part of a mimicry complex (with a species of Meromacrus), flies having a yellow-tipped abdomen, mimics of the wasp Pachyodynerus. A possibility?
Hmm. This on-line paper (from Annals Ent. Soc. America, vol. 27, p. 443) describing the genus Hoplitimyia gives a key to North American species, and if my individual above is in the correct genus, it would seem to key to H. mutabilis, based on the yellow dorsal surface of abdominal segments 4-5, the rest being mostly black.
- - -
Well, this is one case where an expert confirms my wild speculation--see comment and thanks Martin!

So there are 3 species of thi
So there are 3 species of this genus in the USA,
canstans: males have the silver abdomen, scutellum yellow and both sexes have a triangular spot on the side of the thorax above the notopleural line.

mutabilis: males without silver abdomen, both sexes without that triangular spot

bellardii (new name for bimaculata): males without silver abdomen, both sexes without triangular spot on thorax, male scutellum black, second segment with two large yellow spots

constans goes further north then the other two species...
Hope that helps in future... very nice flies...

Moved
Moved from Soldier flies.

Moved
Moved from Deer Flies.

Oops:-)
This is when I wish I could e-mail folks directly! This is clearly a soldier fly in the family Stratiomyidae. Note the 'prongs' on the rear, dorsal surface of the thorax. Tabanids do not have those.

 
Thanks
No worries about the Oops! Very interesting--the deerfly-like striped eyes had me fooled.
Moving to soldier flies.

 
Deer Flies
have spotted eyes; it's the Horse Flies (Tabanus, Hybomitra) that have this type of striped eye.

 
Thanks! and possibilities in soldier flies...
Thanks for the clarification on horse and deer flies. I always come to grief with flies, jumping to Conclusions. (He who jumps to the Island of Conclusions has to swim back through the Sea of Knowledge, according to Norton Juster's Phantom Tollbooth.)

Any opinions (from anyone commenting) about Hoplitimyia for this fly? See also more links in my caption above...
Now that the experts have me in the correct family, I'm certainly going to make some hypotheses about genera.

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