Forgotten Foto Friday: Eudioctria sp.

Eudioctria sp. | Shaw Nature Reserve, Gray Summit, Missouri

In keeping with my recent theme featuring insects from Shaw Nature Reserve, I present here a long-forgotten photograph that I took back in May 2009.  In fact, not only was this photo taken on the maiden voyage of my Canon dSLR setup, but it is the very first photograph of an insect that I took with the camera—image #19 (1-18 were the initial test shots and a few immediately discarded photos).  It won’t win any awards, but it’s not a bad photo, and the fact that I immediately began attempting shots with the lens dialed all the way up to 1:1 shows I had no qualms about going for broke.

As best I can tell, this is a member of the robber fly genus Eudioctria in the subfamily Stenopogoninae.  Species in this genus are among the tiniest of North American robber flies,  measuring only 6–8 mm in length (compare this with the spectacular 35–40 mm length of North America’s largest robber fly).  They superficially resemble species of the unrelated genus Cerotainia (subfamily Laphriinae) but lack the extra-long antennae. According to Norman Lavers (The Robber Flies of Crowley’s Ridge, Arkansas), Eudioctria can also be distinguished behaviorally, as it prefers flat leaves at the top of small shrubs, while Cerotainia tends to perch on twig-ends.  Eudioctria is primarily a western U.S. genus, although four of its 14 species (albius, brevis, propinqua, tibialis) occur in the eastern states (Adisoemarto and Wood 1975).  I can’t possibly determine which of those four species this individual represents, as to do so requires examination of facial gibbosities and judgements about the degree to which various body parts are pollinose(?)—perhaps I should stick with beetles!

REFERENCE:

Adisoemarto, S. and D. M. Wood.  1975.  The Nearctic species of Dioctria and six related genera (Diptera, Asilidae).  Questiones Entomologica 11:505–576.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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2 Responses to Forgotten Foto Friday: Eudioctria sp.

  1. It brings me great joy that your camera lost its insect virginity to a fly! Great photo, first shot or not!

    • Thanks Morgan. I can imagine this pleases you. If it had to be a fly rather than a beetle, I’m glad it was at least a robber fly and not some dinky little saprovore or poopivore.

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