Monday Night Mystery: iStockphoto Mozzie Fails

What’s that annoying whine this evening? An insect in my ear?

Why, no! It’s iStockphoto, serving fake mosquitoes!


2. 3.4.

So. None of these are mosquitoes. For two points each, tell me the correct family for each insect (8 pts total). No need to list identifying characters this time- just the name will do.

But wait- some of these misidentifications fail harder and more epically than others! Now that we know how to quantify the amount of Fail, I’ll give out two more points to the first person who can correctly rank-order the fails from least to most egregious.

As usual, the cumulative points winner for the month of September will win their choice of 1) any 8×10-sized print from my photo galleries, or 2) a guest post here at Myrmecos on a safe-for-work topic of their choosing.

19 thoughts on “Monday Night Mystery: iStockphoto Mozzie Fails”

  1. I’ll say the least egregious is #4, because although I can’t see the antennae, it at least looks like a nematoceran fly. It’s definitely a little dip — I can see the halteres. Cecidomyiidae, maybe?

    #1 and #3 are at least in the right order (Diptera.) I’ll guess Asilidae for #3, although the head would have to be in a different orientation for me to be sure. #1 is maybe a tad more egregious than #3, since it’s a muscoid. I’m thinking Sarcophagidae. It just looks like one. Stripes and all that.

    #2 isn’t even a fly. Looks hymenopteran. Ichneumonidae, maybe.


  2. Late again 🙁

    I concur with Chris’ IDs, and a good case can be made for his rank ordering by taxonomic relatedness. However, #3 is one helluva monster of a fly – how anyone could mistake such a monstrous, chunky, hairy beast such as that for a wispy, delicate little mosquito is beyond me. Going by appearance alone and ignoring taxonomy (can you believe those words are coming from my mouth?), I propose the alternate ranking (most to least egregious): #3, #1, #2, #4

  3. I decided to expand on my spartan earlier post and provide Taxonomy Fail Indices for each of the fails; based on divergence times in Bertone et al. (2009) and Wiegmann et al. (2009).

    Sarcophagidae / Culicidae – 45 (my family identification may be wrong, but the Culicomorpha / Neodiptera split is the same age)
    Hymenoptera (I can not identify the critter further) / Diptera – 57.5
    Asilidae / Culicidae – 45 (Asilidae is closer to Sarcophagidae than either is to the mosquite)
    Chironomidae / Culicidae – 36.6 (An early split in the Culicomorpha)

    Bertone et al. 2009, Phylogenetics and temporal diversification of the earliest true flies (Diptera). BMC Evolutionary Biology 9: 298
    Wiegmann et al. 2009, Single-copy nuclear genes resolve the phylogeny of the holometabolous insects. BMC Biology 7: 34

  4. Alex,
    FYI I’m going to be featuring some of your Monday night mysteries in my entomology class. I will also be encouraging them to adopt the taxonomy fail index as they get further along in the semester to rate their earlier misidentifications. Fun and educational stuff.

  5. To add to the fail, I’m not so sure that #2 is even tropical, let alone not being a mosquito. We have seen wasps that look almost exactly like that hanging around our porch light, and if there is any place that is *not* tropical, it is northern Michigan.

  6. Maybe iStockphoto is multilingual – some of these are indeed ‘little flies’ which would be mosquito (i.e. diminutive of mosco) in Spanish.

  7. I get the fun in identifying a mystery insect from a bad photo.. but the fun in rating the “fails” of others not trained to id insects seems a tad self-centered, no?

    1. These “fails” are photographs offered for sale through a major stock company. It’s the act of going public, for profit, with a flawed product that makes them fair game. If someone isn’t capable of identifying insects, then they shouldn’t by trying to make money from their identifications. I’d never pick on anyone’s misID on a personal web site.

      When the Monday Mystery features one of these taxonomy fails, it’s usually because I’m short on time and haven’t been able to put together a decent mystery from my own material. They’re relatively easy to do, and that’s why I use them.

  8. Pingback: Answer to the Monday Night Mystery – MYRMECOS - Insect Photography - Insect Pictures

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