30 August 2012

Spiderfly

One of the over-ripe tomatoes in the greenhouse had burst on the edge of the raised bed last night and was proving to be a magnet for flies and wasps. I was surprised to see a spider nibbling on some of the fragments of tomato: vegetarian spiders aren't exactly common (there is one, apparently, out of 40,000 species!).


A closer look reveals the truth of the matter: it's really a fly cleverly disguised as a spider.


After a bit of internet-delving I think it's a member of the family Tephritidae (fruit flies); a species with the rather unattractive name of Walnut Husk Maggot (Rhagoletis suavis). According to Wikipedia, the genus name is partially derived from Ancient Greek rhago "a kind of spider". The BugGuide site also notes that some members of this fruit fly family "mimic jumping spiders. The wing-waving apparently deters the approach of jumping spiders, important predators of the flies."

2 comments:

Lucy said...

It may not have been a spider after all but the idea of 40,000 spiders is mind boggling.

quinn said...

That is flippin' amazing! Thanks for the great photo :)