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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/id and behavior of 'deer flies'?

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Question
fourple
fourple  
Hello,

I am hoping you can give me an id on these interesting guys and also comment on the odd behavior in which they are engaging.
My wife took the picture at the school where she teaches.  We live in northern ca.  They were stacked like this for some time she said.  The bottom one, also the largest, tried to walk, but often fell over, taking her companions with her. Thanks.   Mark

Answer
These are flies called Dance Flies. I have observed the mating dances they perform on the air but this behavior is new to me. I assume it is some kin of mating ritual. Your wife may have discovered something new. I am going to look onto this more. If I find out anything I will let you know Mark

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.

Experience

I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Publications
Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

Education/Credentials
B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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