The last couple of days, James and I have spotted a large black wasp hanging out in the back yard. I saw one again this afternoon. So later, I grabbed my camera and went back outside in hopes of snagging some pictures of one. Not more than two or three minutes later, I saw THREE tussle under a tomato plant. Then two coupled together flew off (above). I followed them and managed to get a few good shots.
Then I went back and found the third under the tomato plant. Oh, he didn't look so good. In fact, I wondered if he'd been mortally wounded. Nope. A minute or two later, he started moving and flexing his wings. I left the drama so I could download my photos and identify them.
What I learned is that these large insects are not wasps but wasp-mimic FLIES. Cool! More specifically, these are mydas flies in the genus Mydas. I was relieved to find out that they're NOT saw flies (my mallows are safe from more hungry larvae). However, now I'm wondering what mydas fly larvae eat? Hopefully, not plants!