This is one of the most commonly seen fruit flies in North America. And while you may associate fruit flies with soft fruits, some species induce galls or mine stems, and in the case of this species, feeding in flower heads. As their name suggests, Sunflower Seed Maggots develop in seed heads of plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). This pretty-patterned adult is resting on its larval plant, Arrowleaf Balsamroot. Fruit flies also have another common name, peacock flies! Many species have highly-patterned wings used by males for courtship and may also be defensive.
Size: 5.5-6.5 mm (antennae to wingtips)
Photos by: Glenn Marangelo on 5/22/22 near Missoula, MT