Previous Picture | Next Picture | Thumbnails
Fly, Panthophthalmus bellardi (Diptera: Brachycera:
Department of Entomology
by: R. Vetter|
is a small family of giant flies.
There are only 22 species in the family, all of them Neotropical,
and while they resemble Horse Flies (Tabanidae) they are only somewhat
related to them, and do not bite.
In fact, the adults don't feed at all, spending most of their
lives as large grubs boring in trees, especially in roots, so the adult
stage is only a very brief portion of the life cycle, similar to
There is at least one species, Pantophthalmus
roseni, which is a minor pest, attacking oaks in
, apparently boring into various parts of the living tree.
Adult females of this family, such as the one shown on the left
(male on the right), can reach two inches in length, which makes them
the second-largest living flies (only a few species of Mydas flies are
A few species are mimics of Tarantula Hawk Wasps (Pompilidae,
The species shown here, Pantophthalmus
bellardi, occurs throughout Central America south to Peru and
Brazil, and the specimens in the photo are from Pico Pijol National Park
in Honduras, where they fly for only a short time, exactly at dusk,
sometimes enticing enthusiastic but careless entomologists to get
in the vegetation and break their ankles, as these specimens did.