These photos are of my holdings (9 specimens) in the family Pantophthalmidae, originating from French Guiana and obtained partly from Philippe Soler (Le Planeur Bleu museum, Cacao) and partly from Jean Cerda’s Malaise trap samples.
This neotropical family is related to the soldier flies (Stratiomyidae) but the pantophthalmids are renowned for being some of the largest flies in the neotropics and for having larvae that burrow into live wood. There are 2 genera and 20+ species but I have been advised that their taxonomy is a little confused and the group needs revision. Interestingly they seem very prone to infestations of phoretic mites, which usually sit on the anterior tergites – these can be seen on some of the photos as clusters of small white specks.
When I get a chance to identify them I will split this post into the different species. Many thanks to Martin Hauser for copying his literature for me.