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Remarkable Fly Face -4th image added-25vi09
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2541
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:41 pm    Post subject: Remarkable Fly Face -4th image added-25vi09 Reply with quote

The width of this fly's face is 2.4mm. When seen head on (my face to the fly's face) I could see a bright silver dot from 10' away and that's what made me investigate. The area between the eyes being highly reflective silver - top image.

However, when viewed from the side this highly reflective silver dome turns into black velvet but the lower part of the face remains reflective. (The arista on the right antenna moved between frames).

The fly is about 7mm long; and if it wasn't for its headlights it would never have been noticed.



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Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
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Last edited by NikonUser on Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:09 pm; edited 3 times in total
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool!!

Now this I would like to see under an electron scope.

Offhand I have no idea what structure would behave like this.

--Rik
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Graham46



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 132
Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice shots! I cant believe you could see the silver dot from that far away, very cool. Whats even cooler is its color changing properties from a different view point. Hats off!
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Graham
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
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Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was in one corner of my "tent trap" and I was checking the tabanids when I saw this 'bright light' in the far corner (the trap is 12' x 12' at the base).
It looks white here but in real life it looks more like mercury or highly polished silver.

Rik: structure is interesting but what about function?
Anyway, I have the fly and if you can process it through your contacts I will send it to you.
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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Graham Stabler



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 209
Location: Swindon, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is that they are fine relatively white hairs. When I cut my hair really short with clippers I see something similar except my skin and hair colour are wrong. From the side of the hairs (the front view of the flies head as they lay along the surface you see the sides of the hairs, from the right angle you see the black chitin substrate as you see the hairs end on. In my case you can just see my scalp when looking from the right direction.

Just my guess anyway.

Graham
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lauriek
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Location: South East UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great shots and interesting too. Looking at the profile shot I don't think I've ever seen a photo of a fly with a head that shape!
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
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Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. Let's hope Rik can get them under an Electron Microscope.

Laurie: I think it's a tachinid fly (Tachinidae)

Tried a dorsal shot agaimst a black background (such a background is not as easy to work with as my regular grey; Graham46 does a great job with his bugs).

The projecting face positively glowed in the viewfinder.


_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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Graham Stabler



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 209
Location: Swindon, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well that looks almost retro reflective like 3M scotchlite material.

But assuming it always looks bright from the front/top but not from the side I will stick with my original guess, looking forwards to the EM images.

Graham
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Graham Stabler



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a more silly thought, retro reflective materials tend to use tiny balls which act as micro lenses, the underside is highly reflective and no matter which direction the light enters the balls it is focussed, reflected and re-collimated back in the same direction. I suppose instead of balls you could have rods or transparent hairs which are somehow highly reflective, this would also have a directional nature.

Graham
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Graham46



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
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Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That glow is striking! Very cool specimen. And thank you for the compliment Very Happy
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have regular access to an SEM, so it'll take a while for me to put something together.

In the meantime, hang onto that fly.

The brilliant whiteness reminds me a bit of the beetle in this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6272485.stm

But the illustrations shown there give no hint that the beetle's appearance changes with viewing angle, as this fly's obviously does.

--Rik
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NikonUser



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Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik: That reminds me, interference effect as in Morpho wing scales ?
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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View user's profile Send private message
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19327
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NikonUser wrote:
It was in one corner of my "tent trap" and I was checking the tabanids when I saw this 'bright light' in the far corner (the trap is 12' x 12' at the base).
It looks white here but in real life it looks more like mercury or highly polished silver.

Do you remember the relationship between your head, the fly, and wherever the light was coming from?

If the light was right behind you, so your head was almost casting a shadow on the fly, that would argue for retroreflective.

Quote:
Rik: That reminds me, interference effect as in Morpho wing scales ?

Seems likely, but that covers quite a wide range of effects.

Your description of looking like mercury or silver suggests a mirror-like reflector that works equally well for all colors of light. In that case the "white" appearance in the photograph could just mean that it's reflecting your illumination diffuser. Could the "black velvet" appearance just be reflecting a big chunk of unlighted background?

--Rik
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Eric F



Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 246
Location: Sacramento, Calif.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:01 am    Post subject: Remarkable fly face Reply with quote

NU,

Your remarkable fly is Metopia argyrocephala, in the family Sarcophagidae (flesh flies). This species occurs in Europe and eastern North America and has been reared from the nests of bees and wasps, where their larvae live as external predators [images from a French site: http://www.galerie-insecte.org/galerie/metopia_argyrocephala.html]. Certain other kinds of sarcophagids have this same kind of remarkable face coloration (in Metopia, only the males have the silvery faces).

Eric
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2541
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Eric; would have sworn it was a tachinid.

Your link has an extra ].

This link works!

CLICK HERE
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
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