Subject: Parasitic fuzzy black bee?
Location: San Antonio, TX
August 27, 2015 1:01 pm
I hope this letter finds you well. I was in my back yard yesterday afternoon, in san antonio, TX, when I stumbled across a large, fuzzy, black, winged insect. It looks almost like a bee and had a large wasp under it. I was thinking a parasite of some sort? Thanks for your help!
Signature: – T
We want to begin by correcting your terminology. A parasite lives in or on the body of a host creature, feeding on blood or other forms of nutrition that the body can offer. A parasitoid is all of the above, but it also kills the host while feeding. A predator catches and eats prey, and your image is of a predatory Robber Fly, the Belzebul Bee Eater, Mallophora leschenaulti, but we are uncertain of the identity of the prey as your image is lacking in critical detail.
Thank you kindly for the clarification. Are you quite sure that my image depicts the Mallophora leschenaulti? It is just that I don’t recall seeing the white band across the it’s body. They look a little different to me. Thank you again for your time!
We would need a better quality image to be more certain, but as there are only five members of the genus in North America, and since the others have more prominent yellow markings, we gave the identification our best guess. High resolution, properly focused images from multiple angles are always preferred for identification purposes.