Can you help me identify this insect?

Observed this intriguing little insect (about 3/8inch long)  feeding on a crabapple hanging in tree that grows along the shrub zone at the edge of our wetland near Portland, Oregon.

I’ve searched the Internet and looked through our nature guides and can’t find a match for this one.

Any thoughts???


These are crabapples… to help with size perspective


Look at the metallic gold head!

For the name of this insect, click here: THE ANSWER


19 thoughts on “Can you help me identify this insect?

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  1. I’m going to go out on a (fruit tree) limb and claim to have narrowed your search to a mere 5,000 species. Picture-googling “crabapple gall fly” led to the family Tephritidae, the “other” fruit fly. Sometimes known as peacock flies, species in the family Tephritidae are larger than their kitchen cousins — up to a full centimetre in length — with colourful bodies and picture wings. I bet your gold-headed beauty is one of them. Good luck, Jane!

  2. I remember having seen this (fly) type insect or something very similar, in the fall and associated with ripe fruit. What exactly it is I know not, I do like it’s coloration. If I remember correctly it’s a rather slow flyer and flew in gentle circles…

  3. Good Morning, Dandyknife. Thanks so much for going out on that limb for me! I believe you’ve nailed the insect family. I located a blog written by a grad student in Ontario (Biodiversity in Focus). After scanning through his photos and others in a link in his blog to “The Fruit Flies of Ontario,” I couldn’t find an exact match. So, an email with a link to this post was sent to him… if any one knows which of the 5,000 species my little visitor is, I suspect he will:)


  4. I think Dandyknife may have focused in on the insect family. My hopes are with an expert in Ontario. Keep an eye on this… I’ll post what I find out after he replies to my email inquiry. 😉
    BTW, your description of this insect’s persona is right on!

  5. I can see why you suggested a cricket- the coloration is similar. But, this little critter was too far off the ground to be a cricket, and its mouth was a proboscis versus mandibles… at least I think I have this correct. It’s been a while since my insect studies in biology 😉

    If you are curious, though, I found an expert in Canada and hope he will be able to solve the mystery! I’ll update the conversation stream when I hear from him.

  6. The trick here was having a nice new macro lens to play with, and a slow-moving subject. This little insect was actually quite a character to watch. It seemed very slow and methodical about how it approached its meal.

  7. Looks like some kind of fly. If he posts photos on she will probably have answers from experts within the hour.

    Amy Wolitzer
    Park Ranger
    Livermore Area Recreation and Park District

  8. Jane,

    Here is a lead to find the answer:

    “Looks like some kind of fly. If she posts photos on she will probably have answers from experts within the hour.”

    Amy Wolitzer
    Park Ranger
    Livermore Area Recreation and Park District

  9. Thank you, Patrick. I will register with as per Amy’s advice.
    The leads today are all pointing to this website. I so appreciate the help with this. Doing research is one of my favorite things to do, and finding new expert resources is a genuine treat.

    I’ll be back with the update on identification soon!!!

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