Bee Fly

Subject: identification
Location: Tucson, AZ
October 6, 2016 6:04 pm
Dear Bugman,
I am submitting a few photos of insects for identification. They were taken between October 1 and 4 2016 in our community garden in Tucson, AZ.
Image 1 I believe to be a bee fly, perhaps of genus Exoprosopa.
…I would be very happy if you could identify the insets in these photos that I would like to share with my fellow gardeners.
Thanks very much!
Signature: Melody

Bee Fly
Bee Fly

Dear Melody,
We agree that this is a Bee Fly in the family Bombyliidae, but in our opinion, you have the genus misidentified.  The pattern on the wings looks more like the pattern on the wings of
Dipalta serpentina which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “The wing venation is quite distinctive: the radial segment R2+3 is strongly contorted into an ‘S’-shape, and is connected (at first sinus of the ‘S’) by a cross-vein to R4 (see wing diagram from the MND here).”  BugGuide also notes:  “Larvae are parasitoids of pupae, and perhaps also larvae, of antlions (Myrmeleontidae).”

Dear Daniel,
Thanks very much for the inset identification. I didn’t know the Bug Guide rules so apologize for sending photos of on-related species.
I am attaching the same photo of the dorsal view of the bee fly along with a three quarter view in which the pattern of dark pigmentation in the wing is more easily seen. This pigmentation pattern does not quite match that of the Dialta serpentina photo on Bug Guide. But perhaps pigmentation is variable and venation is what is what is used for identification purposes?
Thanks again. I am just a gardener, not a dedicated bug geek, but am always fascinated by the diversity of insects we see in our organic garden.
Thanks again!

Bee Fly
Bee Fly

Hi again Melody,
For clarification, we are What’s That Bug? and we frequently cite BugGuide, an entirely different website when we attempt to identify the submissions we receive.  There is no need for you to apologize.  While we attempt to identify as many submissions as we can, we are also interested in posting excellent submissions to our archive, and that is the primary reason we request that submissions be limited to a single individual, species or family, unless there are extenuating circumstances.  With that stated, with difficult identifications, often multiple views of the same individual are helpful in making identifications, and for that reason, we allow our curious readership to attach up to three images.  Regarding pigmentation pattern, there is often variation within a single species, and veination pattern is a more scientifically accepted method for taxonomic identification.  That said, our editorial staff does not have any formal entomological background, so our identifications are questionable at best.  We are frequently wrong and we enthusiastically welcome corrections from true experts.  If you look at other images on BugGuide of
Dipalta serpentina, you will see that there are individuals with pigmentation patterns that are similar to your individual.  Finally, modern identification is depending more and more on DNA analysis, which is leading to lumping together of formerly distinct species and subspecies, and splitting apart of formerly single species.  At the end of the day, insects and other creatures are better at identifying potential mates in their own species than we humans are.
P.S.  Your Ant identification request is still on our back burner, and we would humbly request, if you have the time and you want to make our posting a bit easier, for you to resubmit the image, use our standard submission form, and attach multiple views of those Ants so we are able to more carefully consider their physical characteristics.

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