My Digital Photography of
Flies and Other Flying Insects
The following insects were photographed in the Metro-Detroit area, unless otherwise noted. I have identified them by their scientific names, if known. Photographs are sorted so that most recent photos are at the top of the page.
If you know the name of any unidentified insects, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Special thanks to John Maxwell for helping me identify many insects on this page.
Click here for info about purchasing prints of these photographs.
Click on any photo to see a larger view!
Dragonfly just emerged from nymph
Waterloo State Park, May 14, 2017
Unknown Flying Insects, mating
Point Pelee, October 22, 2016
Unknown Flying Insects
Independence Oaks, July 20, 2014
Holland Ponds, June 28, 2014.
This poor dragonfly in Clarkston, MI could not complete its escape from its water larvae skin. Ants were attacking it when I found it. I got the ants off and put it in a location farther from the ants, but it was stuck to the old skin and it looked like its wings had dried wrong. It was a hot, dry day today, about 86 degrees.
Crane Fly, family Tipulidae
These things look pretty freaky, but they are actually harmless and most cannot even eat as adults. They are quite large, spanning a couple inches in diameter with their legs spread out.
Asian Tiger Mosquito or Forest Day Mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta)
This crazy thing was in the house on August 4, 2010. It seemed to keep flying right at me. I told Brian it looked like a huge mosquito and that it was trying to get me. He didn't believe me---not until we caught it in a butterfly net and took a closer look. All the parts on it looked just like a mosquito, only larger. After a bit of research, I discovered that it is an introduced species of the mosquito family, Culcidae, that wasn't in Michigan until just recently due to travel and importation of goods. It first came to Houston in 1985 in a shipment of old tires from Japan. Since then, it has become established in much of the U.S. A few days later, we had another one of these in the house. Luckily, no more were found this summer. The first photo shows the tiger mosquito next to a centimeter ruler alongside two regular mosquitoes.
Flower fly that mimics a yellow-jacket wasp
At first, I thought this was a yellow jacket, but on closer inspection, I realized it was only a flower fly with similar markings. It was photographed on stone crop flowers on September 14, 2009.
Dragonfly and small flying insect at the Henry Ford Estate
This dragonfly and other small insect (about 3/8" long) was photographed on July 14, 2009 while I was photographing a bunch of frogs around a pond at the Henry Ford Estate.
Here is a dragonfly that landed on the sweet peas in my backyard on August 4, 2008. I haven't researched the species yet.
Drain Flies, Psychoda alternata (also known as moth flies or sewer flies)
Almost the whole life cycle of drain flies was photographed on July 9, 2008 from larvae, pupae and adult. I didn't see any eggs though. I had no idea the moths were so fuzzy because it is almost impossible to tell with the naked eye, at least with my vision.
Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla rufilabris
The green lacewing is not only beautiful, but beneficial. In fact, many people buy them from gardening supply stores to release in their gardens because they eat aphids and other insects that prey on plants. This one happened to fly in and land on the ceiling on June 15, 2008. I couldn't get a very good photo, but at least it's something.
Mayfly, Order Ephemeroptera
I photographed this near-dead mayfly on a peony flower and prayer plant flower on June 3, 2008. The ones on the prayer plant were taken about an hour after the peony---you can see its eyes beginning to "deflate" just like a balloon as it dies---very strange. I was not very happy with these photos (too out of focus), but they are still my best ones of a mayfly. The first photo shows the mayfly meeting the resident beetle that was on this peony when I brought it in the house. Click here for more photos of the beetle alone.
Soldier Fly, Nemotelus
While I was preparing to photograph a weevil on June 15, 2007, this soldier fly (family Stratiomyidae) landed on the flower I was using. It was very small---only about 1/4" long.
Common Sawfly, Dolerus
I found this common sawfly (family Tenthredinidae) in the grass, almost dead, on 4-24-07. I'm not sure if the material around its head and thorax is pollen or something that the bug produced.
Wooly Aphids, Eriosoma
Huron Meadows Metropark, 11-3-13
The beech blight aphids were taking over large areas of beech forest here. It was worrisome, although I have read that they aren't considered a problem. This time, the leaves had clumps of spongy-looking fungal matter (at least that's what I think it was). I have never seen this phenomenon before. There were aphids on the clumps too.
North Carolina, 11-4-06
Below are some of the strangest insects I have ever seen. I discovered them on my hike through the Croatan National Forest in North Carolina on 11-4-06. At first, it looked like a branch was full of cottony stuff that was waving in the wind. Upon closer inspection, one could see that attached to each little white tuft was an insect larva. It waved the cottony tuft in a rhythmic fashion---back and forth, back and forth, each one swaying independently of the others. It wasn't until I got home and looked at my photos that I realized that among these things were some adult flies. If you look closely, you can see some that appear to be in an intermediate stage of life.
Tiger Bee Fly, Xenox tigrinus
This tiger bee fly appeared to be dying, as it was very slow-moving and could only fly for a few moments at a time. I photographed it on 8-23-06.
Bottle Flies (Blow Flies), Lucilia
"Flies all green and buzzing..."
Here are a few bottle flies I photographed on August 5, 2006.
Longlegged Fly, probably Condylostylus
On the morning of August 3, 2005, a fly landed on me. I really wanted to photograph it but it flew away. Later at night, I found it in the bathtub, dead. Although I would rather photograph living insects, this fly was so pretty that I decided to try out my new Canon EOS 30D and see if I could get any indoor pictures. A ring flash would help, but I don't have one yet.
Gray Fishfly, Neohermes
While camping in Nelson, OH, on July 29, 2006, I found several of these unusual insects. They are almost 2 inches long from head to wing tips.
Plant Bug, family Miridae
I was in the middle of photographing a spider on June 3, 2006 when this little insect landed on my mat board, so I snapped a quick shot of it before it flew away.
Mayfly, Order Ephemeroptera, possibly Maccaffertium
This mayfly was photographed on September 4, 2004.
Drone Fly, Eristalis tenax on Zinnia
The drone fly below was photographed on 8-5-04.
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