Lion Beetle in British Columbia

Subject:  Unknown bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Vancouver island B.C.
Date: 07/30/2019
Time: 06:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This noisy bee landed on the end of a log and eventually crawled underneath.
How you want your letter signed:  Richard

Lion Beetle

Dear Richard,
Though this looks very much like a Bee, it is not.  One can’t even begin to contemplate the complexity of the transformational events that caused this Lion Beetle,
Ulochaetes leoninus, to mimic the appearance and behavior of a stinging insect for protection from predators and other threats that have learned to avoid aposomatic or warning colors and markings after having first been stung.  The first time we received an identification request for a Lion Beetle, we were quite confused ourselves.

Lion Beetle

Hello Daniel,
thanks so much for the identification.  We did our best with images but no luck.  We were beekeepers for a few years and were puzzled by this critter. The loin like tuft of fuzz like a bumblebee on a body most resembling a queen honey bee was a strange sight.  I’m grateful to have had a chance to see one fly and land close enough to take a couple of photos.

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