These two strange bugs were crawling on a Salal branch yesterday in my yard. I’ve never seen anything like these before.
A closer look didn’t help me much. It sort of looked like an ant to me (maybe a queen or a male?), but the antennae didn’t seem right. Ant antennae are usually bent.
The view from above didn’t help much either. The antennae here look a lot like fly antennae though. Could it be a fly?
I followed one of them while it moved around. After poking it with my camera a couple of times (by accident of course!) it started to flap its wings.
Looks like only two wings, right? Even better evidence for it being a fly. But beyond that I was stumped. It isn’t in any of my insect books. So where do you turn for a Bug ID when nothing else works? Yup, BugGuide! I posted it there and got an answer within about an hour. This is a March Fly, specifically a female Bibio xanthippes according to this Oregon State website. Interestingly, the male looks a little different- mostly because it has larger fly-like eyes.
This is the patch of Salal that I found them in. Explore your yard!