The Most Beautiful Fly in the World

I know that this might be controversial; after all, people generally either don’t think flies have any redeeming qualities (never mind “beauty”), or more likely for readers of this blog, have their own ideas of what constitutes a gorgeous fly.
silver strat zerenea
I submit, however, that this amazing silver male stratiomyid (soldier fly) from Costa Rica is the most beautiful fly in the world. It moves around on the underforest leaves like an animated drop of quicksilver, flashing in the tropical sun. It is not garish, like some of the gaudy calyptrates I have seen (see below), but has a pure beauty in its clean, sleek metallic cover. Just in case you find this boring, it also has a scutellum decorated with spines, like the crown of royalty.

The name of this creature is Artemita aurata (Macquart), and it was described in 1846, so it is not anything new, but it deserves “rediscovery” by lovers of biodiversity everywhere.

Don’t agree with me? Let’s hear your nominations!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA gaudy calliphorid from Australia: a runner-up to the world’s most beautiful fly

23 comments on “The Most Beautiful Fly in the World

  1. Emily says:

    Calliphorids “gaudy”? Oh, no! That rainbow colored calliphorid would be my pet for sure if it came in dog size (or even guinea pig size, for that matter). The silver strat does have a certain dignified beauty, I’ll admit…but I’m a sucker for color! And shiny objects!

    • Brian Brown says:

      Thanks Emily. Any further nominations (you can look through the collection)?


      • Emily says:

        The only way a fly could be better than the rainbow one you posted is if it was glittery (not just shiny) or was pink. If such flies exist, I need to quit Megasilia today and switch gears :o)

  2. Matt Bertone says:

    My vote (and the one I always show people) is another stratiomyid:

  3. Jeff Bjorck says:

    I do think the sleek silver is amazing. However, I too and a sucker for color. I think I like your runner up better, and the stratiomyid is incredible too. Why don’t we just admit that flies are beautiful, period! πŸ™‚

  4. I’ll go with gaudy.

  5. Peter Kerr says:

    Though dastardly, I think Ceratitis capitata, the Med Fly, is a looker.,_male.jpg

  6. Samuel Perry says:

    Those Australasian Rutiliini get my vote! Especially Formosia and Ameniamima:

  7. JoannKarges says:

    Gorgeous! I wonder why, evolutionary-wise.

  8. Emily says:

    I was thinking about this post last night and realized that a post on “cute” flies would have generated dozens of nominations from myself alone. I think that diptera morphology is more likely to generate a “cute” response, whereas Hymenoptera, for instance, has a plethora of very beautiful species. Coleoptera may be somewhat unique in having morphological types that generate strong responses for both. Odonata, beautiful. Orthoptera, cute. Of course this generally has to do with head size/shape in relation to body size/shape. I may be overthinking this but I think it’s an interesting point. The few really “beautiful” flies are likely to be Hymenoptera”ish”. I think what this comes down to is that really, I just would like to see your nominations for world’s cutest fly!!

  9. I kind of like the bee flies, especially this one:

  10. Soraya Uribe says:

    La familia Syrphidae tiene varias moscas dignas de concurso, hermosos colores y formas!!

  11. I’m a sucker for tabanid eyes (, but I’ll concede that tabanids don’t compare to these flies when considering the rest of the body.

  12. Wlll Holz says:

    While I’ve got a soft spot for the robber flies, I can’t resist some of the big-headed flies for general adorkableness. πŸ™‚

    If you’d gone with wasps I’d have a sure winner though!

  13. Lila says:

    I saw a metallic pink dolichopodid in Bali…it was absolutely stunning, and that was just to the naked eye! I can only imagine how awesome this start is in person!

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