Seeing Red

Nov 16, 2010

The first thing you notice about the fly is its brilliant red eyes.

They stand out like the proverbial elephant in the room.

But they are on a fly--a flesh fly.

Martin Hauser, an associate insect biosytematist in the Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, California Department of Food and Agriculture, identified this little critter as a member of the Sarcophagidae family.

"Sarco" is Greek for flesh, and "phage" means eating.

Hauser, who earned his doctorate in entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is skilled at identifying insects. And he speaks German, French and English and studied Latin.

The red-eyed fly, which in its larval stage is associated with decaying flesh, sipped a little nectar and then paused momentarily to groom itself.

And pose for the camera.