Request: Bumble Bee Mimics
July 16, 2010
Location: North Middle Tennessee
Here are a couple of bee mimics the first two I believe is a ”Robber Fly” I was going to include a bumblebee for comparison, but it just didn’t look right. After doing a bit of searching online I now belive it to be a ”Syrphid Fly” I now wonder just how many of the things buzzing around the yard are actually ”Bumblebees” (Will just let the critters figure it out for themselves) Thank You and have a wonderful day.
Your photo of the Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus Laphria is excellent for the genus identification. It shows the thicker antennae of the genus Laprhia which differ from the antennae that are thin and threadlike at the final segment in the genus Mallophora. We believe this may be Laphria thoracica, based on the photos and the range indicated on BugGuide. I agree that the second fly is a Syrphid Fly in the family Syrphidae. I got a bit dizzy going through all the possibilities on BugGuide, but I believe your specimen is probably in the subfamily Eristalinae based on images posted to BugGuide. Characteristics of your specimen like the coloration, smooth black abdomen, and fuzzy yellow thorax are quite distinctive and should make identification relatively easy, but we remain without luck in that arena.