These critters were flying around the neighborhood on an autumn evening in Seattle, WA, USA. Their most notable feature was the small amount fuzz on them. They were quite slow in their flight compared to similar-sized fruit flies.

Any ideas?

Here are two close-ups:

closeup enter image description here

One one for size comparison:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I'm having trouble counting the wings. In your image on the right, I can't tell if there is a second wing on the lower edge of the right wing. The left wing is even less visible. If this only has 2 wings, then it's a diptera. But I'd also believe this is a hymenoptera if it has 4 wings. Not familiar with pacific northwest insects. $\endgroup$ – user137 Oct 10 '14 at 20:38

To me, it looks like a male Aphid (males are winged, and have four wings) from the genus Eriosoma (wooly aphids). The white feathery substance is a wax secretion.

Have a look at Bugguide: Eriosoma, InfluencialPoints: Eriosoma and this page from the Uni of Minnesota for some more info.

A picture of a species from the genus:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I'm with you, and tempted to delete my answer. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Oct 10 '14 at 22:04
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ +1 : decisive is the wing venation pattern - it's definitely an aphid. By the way, females can also be winged $\endgroup$ – alephreish Oct 11 '14 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ @har-wradim True that also females can have wings, but my impression is that winged males are more common. I cannot say about this individual though. Females have an ovipositor and males claspers (and often slightly different body shapes), but hard to see in the pictures. $\endgroup$ – fileunderwater Oct 11 '14 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ These are known as 'wooly aphids' and are common in the fall. An example is the woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum) which do occur in WA. See treefruit.wsu.edu/crop-protection/opm/woolly-apple-aphid $\endgroup$ – user21485 Oct 6 '20 at 3:38

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