A Beginner’s Guide to Flies of the Midwest

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Date(s) - 07/15/2018
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Maze Library


The flies have it! They really do–flies are one of the largest groups of insects and play many roles beyond being annoying pests (which really are just a few species). Love chocolate? Thank flies. Love to see warblers and hummingbirds? Thank flies. Love to see fish, turtles, and other amphibians? Thank flies. Love to see aphids get vacuumed up? You know–thank some flies. From pollinating flowers, to predating and parasitizing pests, to assisting with decomposition (clean-up crew), and being food for warblers, flies do so much for us and are probably the least appreciated animals, to say the least, of the insect kingdom. 

Joe Rowlet will teach us: how to identify a true fly (in the Diptera order); about the evolutionary history of the group, and how to recognize some of the more common families found across the Midwest. There’ll be a particular emphasis on those species of agricultural and horticultural importance.

Feather-legged Fly, parasitoid of Squash bugs








Rose Grosbeak with fly. Photo by Eric Gyllenhal

Rose Grosbeak with fly. Photo by Eric Gyllenhal

Joe Rowlet is a Research Associate at the Field Museum of Natural History in the Insects Department and works on entomological surveys of restored prairies in Illinois. As an undergraduate, he also worked extensively on invertebrate surveys of local aquatic insects. His areas of expertise are in ants, beetles, and especially flies. He is also a widely published author on coral reef biodiversity and works at the University of Chicago on the evolutionary history of wrasses.

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