Small Thick-headed Fly
Ocelliless Thick-headed Fly
Male, profile
Ocelliless Thick-headed Fly (Physocephala australiana)Class: Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)
Order: Flies (Diptera)
Family: Thick-headed Fly (Conopidae)     iNaturalist Observation
Species: Ocelliless Thick-headed Fly (Physocephala australiana)
This Photo:     🔍Male, dorsal🔎

Thank you Tony Daley & Prof Aaron Schusteff for confirming the id of this species for us

General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
~9mm long.
A very strange fly! Pretty rare and thought it was a potter wasp until we caught it and looked more closely in the pot.
The exceptional thing about this genus of fly (apart from it's constricted waist, long antennae & long proboscis) is that it does NOT have ocelli !!
Tony said ours was a male and
"Ocelli absent; first antennal flagellomere and stylus very short; abdomen petiolate; wings with M ending in R4+5 nearly at a right angle; wings dark along front portion."
Tony also pointed to Aaron's discussion of these, where he highlighted the following diagnostics separating this species from others "(beyond those Tony listed)
1) the basally swollen hind femur and
2) the cross-vein r-m is positioned well-beyond both the middle of the discal cell and the cross-vein sc-r.
From Schneider's key: A) entirely yellow frons (lacking any dark brown, triangular, medial marking); and
B) hyaline state of the wing beyond (i.e posterior to) vein r4+5.
A lack of (pale) tan on the scutellum (and posterior lateral edge of the scutum) might be reasonably ascribed to intraspecies "variation".
Males have the basally-tapered 2nd abdominal segment, the evenly-rounded shape of the distal end of the abdomen and the small "nipple-like" nub appearing underneath the 4th abdominal segment.
In female Physocephala the distal end on the abdomen is usually more "blocky" and hook-like. I think the theca (or "genital plate") would be more conspicuously visible in the oblique-profile view in a female."

Copyright © 2021-2024 Brett & Marie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photographed 23-Oct-2021
This species is an Australian Native Species, not listed in the SA Murray Mallee Survey of 2010.