This discussion was moved here from the Streaming Cam Pics forum.
Are these both Hippo Flys...? If so, why so different?
I have found the same mystery fly in the Lower Zambezi National Park , Zambia ( South ) on the 1st October 2009 . My only reference is the same insect book that everyone else refers to , just wondering if there has been any new info in terms of identification ? Many thanks
Ann, got this from this forum posted by Janine
Go to Photo Gallery and
then scroll down to "The Wild Flowers of Olifants"
you'll find great pics there.
I certainly would like to see a database on insects too
and one of botany. But both are quite difficult as some of them need a closer investigation to be able to ID
Ann we tried to start a database on plants but we couldn't find a expert to help us out with the pics we snapped then.
I have the book now that has a picture identical to the fly that was on the cam tree on September 9th. The book is Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. Updated 2004. Authors are Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving. It is listed as Hippo Fly, Tabanus biggutatus. Indentification: Very large (wingspan 46 mm) with black body, sulphur yellow thorax and black wings with clear tips. One of the regions biggest and best known horse flies. Biology: Attacks large mammals such as cattle and hippos, obliging hippos to spend most of the day underwater. Larvae live in mud in pans, constructing mud pillars above the surface to avoid dehydration and in which to pupate; they feed on insect larvae and tadpoles. Habitat: Widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. I am not a big fan of many insects, but it would be nice if a database for them was also available like there is for mammals and birds. One for reptiles would also be nice. I know a few are listed, but I am sure that many more could be added. One for plant life would be interesting too. Trees, bushes, grasses, flowers, weeds and more. Can't learn too much about Africa!
From Wildlife Campus: recieved this this morning,
The term “hippo fly” is colloquial and not taxonomic and refers to a largish Family called Tabanidae which includes horse flies, clegs, deer flies , there are well over 300 different species . The habitat fits as the larvae live in mud or damp soil and the adult females are parasitic. They are not to be confused with the fly Family Hippoboscidae, that are small wingless parasitic flies.
I’ve forwarded the images to several entomologists to see if we can confirm the Family and
Quote: from Ms Charlie
I have been assured HELP is on the way to answer this mystery of this fly. Will keep you posted to the results. Thank you ALL for your help thus far.
When all else fails, mail the Transvaal Museum
The question is, how long will it take for them to answer. The lady whose email adres they give on the site is on pension, I know because I have met her, so I don't know who does the ID-ing now?
From the site provided by Ms Charlie
Hippo fly (Tabanus biguttatus) a large wingspan up to 50 mm. This specimen is small and half the adult size. Adults attack large mammals such as hippos as blood suckers. Their larva feed on insect larva and tadpoles in mud pans.
They say that this specimen is small and half the adult size, so what we must find out is, through which stages does a hippo fly go and does it change?
Ms Charlie, where was the pic taken of the hippo fly you posted?
In the book Field Guide to Insects of South Africa there is the exact copy of the hippo fly as seen on the cam. It is in this book I got my description that I sent to Gerda as I couldn't post then.
Also I do not see anything in the Family Tabanidae resembling your picture of a hippo fly. Can it be that the difference is a difference of region? It does not say whether there is a sexual dimorphism, so I suppose if there is one, the book will make a note of it.
If you know anybody who can answer this question I'd be delighted to know. If we look at both we can see they have the same large head with huge compounded eyes.
Never go by a given name like hippo fly as it is a horse fly like many others. They will also call several other horse flies, hippo fly. Always go by the scientific name, because everything has only one scientific name.
We can ask Todd from Wildlife Campus?
OK here is the url of what we were sent at school today.
OK we just got to this. Nope still can't find it. The one that Gerda posted a pic of is the one we saw at the WH. That's the one that is Black & White. The other one was found by a member also called a Hippo Fly and has those two yellow dots. I even wrote to the Wildlife Campus from school today and have asked them. We do so THANK YOU all for trying to help here.
Were not quiting till we find out what in heck that Black & White one is and WHY is it so different than the other.
Ms. Charlie, See my answer two above this one.