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Lovebug (Plecia nearctica)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Lovebug.

 Updated: 2/7/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Constant companions, male and female Lovebugs stick together through thick and thin to ensure a new generation will come.



A Lovebug is a type of insect in the Fly family. It is black with a bright red humpback on its thorax. It may appear to be a wasp at first glance, but its very short antennae and lack of a stinger reassures that it is physically harmless. That said, it is considered a real nuisance in the South and Mexico, especially around the Gulf coast, where large swarms of them congregate in order to mate. This often happens over a highway or interstate and drivers smack into hundreds of them, leaving carnage on the grill, hood, headlights and windshields of cars and trucks. Lovebugs are slightly acidic, so their guts can start to eat away at car paint if left on for a day or two. The longer they are on the car, the worse the damage gets. Cleaning off the mangled bodies is difficult because they dry onto the surface of the car. Elbow grease, soap, and patience are needed to remove the threat of paint etching. These mating seasons occur two times a year; three in Florida.

Lovebugs get their name from their mating behavior. Males and females meet as a swarm rises from the ground and join abdomens. They remain connected for hours while fertilization takes place, and are usually found paired like this when seen. One female can lay hundreds of eggs on a pile of decaying plant matter or animal dung. Within a year, larvae are mature and ready to reproduce.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Bibionidae
          Genus: Plecia
            Species: nearctica
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Plecia nearctica
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 9mm (0.23in to 0.35in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, red
Descriptors: bulge, blister, humpback, connected, stuck together, acid, car paint, highway
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.