The Story Behind Stalk Eyed Flies

23 October 2011
I often encountered a particular family of flies that had their eyes on extended stalks. Their heads resembled a hammerhead shark, which led to many calling them the hammerhead flies.

The Stalk-Eyed Flies belong to the family Diopsidae. The extended stalks occur in the males, and are sometimes completely absent in females.

The ones I found seem to have shorter “stalks” and had the same hammer-styled heads, so I’m not completely sure that they belong to the same family as the Stalk-Eyed Flies.

Here’s a video documenting how they pump their stalks to their full lengths after emerging from the larva.

This article documents an encounter with another similar looking fly.

Hammerhead Fly (Richardiidae) - DSC_5306#1 The bizarre head

Hammerhead Fly (Richardiidae) - DSC_5321#2 Face to face. Their eyes were not as wide apart as other Stalk-Eyed Flies

Hammerhead Fly (Richardiidae) - DSC_5331#3 Close up shot

Just a short trip, so just a few other finds. 🙂

Thrips (Thysanoptera) - DSC_5300#5 A family of newborn Thrips (Order Thysanoptera)

Flower Chafer Beetle (Cetoniidae) - DSC_5352#6 Flower Chafer (Cetoniidae)? Not sure.

Bess Beetle (Passalidae) - DSC_5359#7 Bess Beetle (Passalidae), likely to be Aceraius rectidens.

Bess Beetle (Passalidae) - DSC_5366#8 Closeup on the Bess Beetle’s head, showing the comb-like antennae

Praying Mantis nymph (Mantodea) - DSC_5373#9 A really tiny Praying Mantis. There were quite a lot of them the day before, but when I got to the spot, only 1 was left.

Praying Mantis nymph (Mantodea) - DSC_5384#10 Another record shot of the tiny fella.

The complete album can be viewed here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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