Location: New Jersey, USA
May 5, 2013 6:46 am
this guy seems to be a combination of the 4
When the common name for Bombylius major was given, someone noticed that this True Fly had some physical traits that resembled those of a Bee, hence the moniker Greater Bee Fly. Indeed, the scientific binomial shares an ancient root with the tribe of Bumble Bees which is Bombini. The Greater Bee Fly is also found in Europe, including the UK, and it is unknown to us where the species originated. Your interesting subject line really caught our attention. BugGuide has this description of members of the Bee Fly Family Bombyliidae: “Hairy, often brightly colored flies. Legs usually slender, Wings often have dark markings, held outstretched at rest. Face not hollowed out. Eyes almost touching above, especially in males. Proboscis either short with broad tip, or long and used to take nectar. Hover and dart, rather like syrphid flies. Females sometimes seen hovering over sandy areas, dipping abdomen to oviposit.” Additional information on diet includes: “larvae are mostly external parasitoids of holometabolous, esp. soil-inhabiting, larvae (Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera), slowly consuming the host completely without making a visible wound; a few are endoparasites, predators (esp. on grasshopper eggs), or kleptoparasites; adults take nectar/pollen” and the life cycle is described as: “larvae undergo hypermetamorphosis: 1st instar larva is active and penetrates the host’s nest, then turns into a sedentary parasitoid; pupa is equipped with spines/spikes to drill out of the nest.”
Fascinating! Thanks so much!!