A wingless soldier fly

Keep a look out for new species establishing in your neighbourhood.

written Mar 22, 2014 • by Jon Sullivan • Category: Wild Changes

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At my son’s sixth birthday party, one of his friends, Joseph, found in our garden a female wingless soldier fly (Boreoides tasmaniensis). The females of this species are about 1 cm long, wingless flies with tiny heads (entomologist Stephen Thorpe speculated on my iNaturalist NZ observation that her mouth parts are likely not functional). The smaller males have wings, so they can fly about looking for the big females. This is the second of these flies I’ve seen. My son found the other one in our garden last April (this iNaturalist NZ observation).

This is an Australian species that somehow managed to sneak over to New Zealand on a boat or plane. It’s so far only established in the South Island. Having a wingless female will likely be slowing its spread.

There have only been three observations so far on iNaturalist NZ of this unusual fly, all from Christchurch. To my knowledge, nothing is currently known about its natural history in New Zealand. It’s worth noting if you see one.

wingless soldier fly
A wingless soldier fly found in my garden (see the observation on iNaturalist NZ).