Say my name and I will show myself

A quick Dipteran interlude from the Orthoptera.

While returning to Ithaca from a trip to Mississippi with Jason Dombroskie, we stopped at a Subway restaurant in Tennessee. Over dinner, we mused over the fact that neither of us had ever seen Hermetia illucens, the black soldier fly, despite it being a common, widespread insect that shows up in Cornell’s Insect Diagnostic Lab with regularity. This species is a compost feeder and is considered a beneficial insect as it breaks down compost and also outcompetes the house fly, Musca domestica, which can spread many diseases (Hermetia is completely innocuous). Jason went to the bathroom, and came back saying “You’ll never guess what I found”. It was, of course, a black soldier fly.

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Hermetia illucens, the black soldier fly (White Pine, TN).

Moral of the story: keep saying the name of the insect/plant/mushroom/bird/whatever organism that you want to see, and sooner or later (sometimes very much sooner!) that organism will show up in your life.

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Hermetia illucens.

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