|Rubber Bug Collecting: Diptera (Flies & Mosquitoes)
Flies are insects everybody loves to hate; especially since our most frequent encounters
with them are a germ-ridden houseguest, a trash can writhing with larvae or a sharply
painful bite from the more bloodthirsty varieties, some of which are vectors for disease that
will kill more human beings this year than any other force of nature.
Most species in this vast group, however, are quite harmless to humans, and include some
of the ecosystem's most essential insect predators and plant pollinators. Furthermore, while
scavenging flies harbor all manner of bacteria on their hairy bodies, their feeding habits are
our first line of defense against organic waste, as maggots eliminate more disease-ridden
carrion each day than all other terrestrial scavengers combined.
These tiny black flies are a classic gag item,
usually sold in packages of at least a hundred
and sometimes in glow-in-the-dark plastic.
This larger rubber fly is an antique dating back to
the 1960's. It includes an elastic string,
presumably to lower it on onto unsuspecting
Another, smaller example of a "variety pack" fly,
this one opts for the common tactic of wings and
thorax in a single transparent piece. I like the
coloration of this one, you'll notice most toy flies
are merely black.
Not much to say about this guy except that he's
another antique, dated 1970! I've had flies in
varying sizes with this exact shape, very cheaply
One of my favorites, these small flies are made
from very soft rubber with a suction-cup
underside. They also come with blue eyes, an
This is definitely the most real-looking fly I've
encountered. At a distance you might actually
fool someone with this thing.
Another roughly life-sized fly, very detailed but
with unusual painted wings, rather than separate
Large and nicely sculpted, but only sold in
stretchy, bean-filled form. These kinds of toys
always look nice, but I'm not fond of the way they
attract dust. I keep these in ziplock bags,
because I am seriously nerdy enough to care
that my rubber bugs are in "mint" condition.
Another favorite of mine, this is a very sturdy
plastic fly containing liquid candy, part of the
same series as the "Bug Factor" items on
several other pages here.
Having decorated the dashboard of every car
I've ever driven, this "Buzzin' Bugs" housefly
has seen better days, its brilliant red eyes and
clear, sturdy wings forever warped and burnt by
the horrible rays of the sun. Before its
mechanisms were completely fried, the button
on its back would light up its eyes and vibrate its
This medium-sized fly with attached, transparent
wings is typical of the flies you can find in bags
with various other insects.
The first rubber mosquito I've ever
encountered, this stocky and well-sculpted bug
is unfortunately losing one of its wings. Like one
of my rubber mantids, it came on a
batter-powered base with lights and sound. The
back of the package suggested that a flea was
available, but I've never found it.
This tiny, realistic mosquito came in a bag of
various other bugs, but most of them were much
larger. As you might have heard, it is only the
females of certain species that feed on blood.
The males (and in many species, both sexes) are
herbivores, and very important pollinators.
This mosquito comes in a test-tube full of slime,
and has been sold at walgreens during the
Halloween season in both 2007 and 2008. I really
like that it's in a biting position, with wings
folded. It is definitely the most anatomically
correct of my three mosquitoes.
Another life-size imitation, these are sold in
large bags at the dollar tree around Halloween.
They're quite realistic, but have only four legs.
We are to assume the missing pair is hidden by
the wings, which would often be the case in a
real fly, anyway.
Another average-model fly that came in a bag,
but I really like the red face and white
mouthparts. It has a lot of character.
This BIG latex fly was mail-ordered from Archie
Mcphee! It actually seems to be made of rather
delicate materials and the wire frame inside is
almost impossible to position the way you want
it, but it's a great-looking item.
You may recognize this giant bendable mosquito
from 2007's Halloween collecting blog. I really
wish the head and mouthparts were more
proportionate, it had potential to be quite cool
with a little more accuracy...that nubby little beak
isn't punching through anyone's skull anytime