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Species Dipalta serpentina

Dipalta sp. - Dipalta serpentina Dipalta serpentina? - Dipalta serpentina Dipalta serpentina? - Dipalta serpentina Dipalta serpentina? - Dipalta serpentina Bee Fly - Dipalta serpentina Bee Fly - maybe Dipalta? - Dipalta serpentina Bee Fly - Dipalta serpentina Some kind of fly? - Dipalta serpentina
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Superfamily Asiloidea
Family Bombyliidae (Bee Flies)
Subfamily Anthracinae
Tribe Villini
Genus Dipalta
Species serpentina (Dipalta serpentina)
Identification
The wing venation is quite distinctive: the radial segment R2+3 is strongly contorted into an "S"-shape, and is connected (at first sinus of the "S") by a cross-vein to R4 (see wing diagram from the MND(1) here).

A key for distinguishing Dipalta from the related genus Neodiplocampta appears on pg. 323 of Hull & Martin (1974), with figures of wing, head, and antenna for D. serpentina figures appear on pg. 338. Hull & Martin (1974) give no description of D. serpentina. For the detailed original 1877 description by Osten-Sacken, and one written shortly thereafter by Coquillett, see "Print References" below.
Range
Widely distributed in Nearctic: Mexico, U.S. (AZ, ARK, CA - type locality, CO, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY)
also Neotropical: Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras.
Season
From Cole & Schlinger(2): "In Calif. species is most abundant in August and September"
Food
Larvae are parasitoids of pupae, and perhaps also larvae, of antlions (Myrmeleontidae).
Remarks
For many years it was stated that Dipalta were parasitoids of antlion larvae...for instance, in the following quote from Cole & Schlinger(2):
"A specimen from Lake Co., Calif., was bred from a myrmeliodid larva; the fly pupa emerged from the globular, sand-encrusted cocoon of the ant lion on August 10, 1933, the adult emerged on September 17, 1933 (MacSwain)"
However, the 1989 paper by Leech & Leech demonstrated a clear instance of Dipalta serpentina parasitizing the pupal stage of an antlion (rather than the larval stage). D. serpentina might also parasitizes antlion larvae, though it seems to be in question (earlier observers may have not observed carefully enough to distinguish between larval & pupal parasitism).
Print References
Hull (3)
World Cat. (4)
Hull, F. M., & W. C. Martin. 1974. The genus Neodiplocampla Curran and related bee flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae). Proc. ent. Soc. Wash. 76:322-346. (Read online at BHL)
Osten-Sacken, C. R. (1877). Western Diptera. Bull. U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey, Vol 3. pp. 236 (Read online at BHL)
Coquillett, D. W. (1887). Monograph of the species belonging to the genus Anthrax from America north of Mexico. Proc. Amer. Ent. Soc. Phil., Vol 14 (Read online at BHL)
Internet References
Wing venation diagram for Dipalta serpentina.
Works Cited
1.Manual of Nearctic Diptera Volume 1
Varies for each chapter; edited by J.F. McAlpine, B.V. Petersen, G.E. Shewell, H.J. Teskey, J.R. Vockeroth, D.M. Wood. 1981. Research Branch Agriculture Canada.
2.The Flies of Western North America
Frank R. Cole and Evert I. Schlinger. 1969. University of California Press.
3.Bee Flies of the World: The Genera of the Family Bombyliidae
Hull, Frank M. 1973. Smithsonian Institution Press.
4.World Catalog of Bee Flies (Diptera : Bombyliidae)
Neal L. Evenhuis. 1999. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden. 804 pp.