Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just dance

Sometimes you just need to get attention.

Like this little fly. He was less than 1cm long, sitting on a leaf, unperturbed by my presence. He was more concerned with grabbing the attention of another fly, perhaps a rival male or potential mate? His front legs were white, and he waved them around quite dramatically. Slow, swirling movements, distinct from the usual jerky movements of a nervous fly. Hopefully he achieved his goal, whatever it was.
I am not sure if this hopper was signaling to me or the other hopper on the fern. I wonder what the purpose of the headstand is supposed to be?
My favorite dancers were these tephritid flies. It was a hot day in the lowlands, we were waiting in the shade for our driver to return, and I noticed some little flies acting strangely. There were dancers on almost every branch. I'm disappointed my camera would not focus close up enough to get a video of their dance moves, but I did get some action shots. Some were competing with rivals, while others were displaying for potential mates. They would do various combinations of wing flicks, one or both at a time, and running around each other. Have you gotten to see any great courtship or territorial display dances in the wild? If you have your own stories, please link them in the comments, I'd like to see!

45 comments:

Troy Bartlett said...

Treehoppers will use their hind legs to kick away enemies. Maybe your hoppers (leafhoppers?) were feeling threatened and getting in position for that.

Here's some dueling salticids.

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"Pump Up the Jam" comes to mind... :)

Thanks for the lovely photos!

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evodevo said...

Yes - a few years ago I was sitting on an old half rotten log and got to observe a number of tiny flies courting thereon. I watched because they were so unusual looking and I have never been able to identify them. They were grayish brown, about the size of a fruit fly, and had weird ping pong paddle shaped wings with what looked like semi-fringed edges that were held up at an angle, instead of laid down, as in the usual fly position. Any ideas?

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