Beeflies !

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Trehopr1
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Beeflies !

Post by Trehopr1 »

The flies of the family Bombyliidae are collectively known
as Beeflies. Theirs is a large and cosmopolitan family which
comprises hundreds of genera and at present numbers at
least 4,500 species --- and counting. The greater number
of these flies resemble bees and they vary in size from as
little as 2mm to upwards of 40mm in length.

At rest, many species hold their wings at a characteristic
"swept back" angle. Adults generally feed on nectar and
pollen and often exhibit a straight proboscis which unlike
butterflies cannot retract. The life cycles of most species
are known poorly, or not at all.

This family is a group which I have ALWAYS had a passing
interest in. Most of my captures of these curious-looking
fellows amount to really just happenstance as most
species do not often appear in abundance. When compared
to other major groups of pollinators they are much less
likely to visit flowering plants in parks or suburban gardens.

Image

In my limited experiance in searching for them I have found
them most attracted to "wild" flowers --- not the typical
mass produced ornamentals we as humans favor in our
plantings. It is in our wild spaces full of flowering variety
that one stands the BEST chance of finding/observing these
benign aerial acrobats.

Another of my "larger" examples at 22mm wingspan.

Image

Some species of beeflies are VERY adept at quick movements
and (similar to dragonflies) they can hover, move laterally in
an instant, and are fast to exit if frightened.

As a result of their overall lack of abundance and "cautious"
habits they remain arguably one of the most poorly known
families of insects relative to its species richness.
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boghaunter1
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Re: Beeflies !

Post by boghaunter1 »

Trehopr1,

Congrats on doing such a nice mounting job on what are relatively (at least up here in Sask.!) small insects. I really like the larger ones with the dark mottled patterning on the wings as you have displayed. I would try, only on fresh specimens, (good luck... :roll: ) to tease out the long, stinger-like proboscis as this is what makes this fly family so distinctive. Many of the bee flies only have a wingspan of about .5" (12.5mm) & would be a real challenge to mount up like the larger spp.. I have tried, many times, to catch these elusive mini-beasts (more common around the damp edges of temporary water puddles/on flowers) with very limited success due to their amazing quickness!

There is readily available, online (Abebooks), an older, inexpensive, massive 1973 volume, called "Bee Flies of the World" by Frank M. Hull that is a very extensive scientific overview of this interesting fly family. If anyone knows of any newer, singular subject books on the bee flies... please post on this thread.

John K. :geek:
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Trehopr1
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Re: Beeflies !

Post by Trehopr1 »

Hello John K,

Thank you so much for your kind remarks !

Nice to hear that you also find them a challenge to catch. I will have to look into that book you mentioned. It sounds like THE BIBLE on beeflies. The only thing is I just don't know how much use I could ever have for such a book to justify whatever it's cost....

I have a few select other species of beeflies in my collection so, I will try to get at least a couple more pictures of those. As you probably know not all beeflies have a forward facing sharp proboscis. There are numerous genera (like the one pictured) which lack it.

Thank you so much for your interest in this topic !

✓ I wouldn't mind producing more short subject topics like this but, unfortunately 😞 they just don't seem to drum up much interest or replies.

When I was very young I found ALL insects fascinating and although I was "very green" to the hobby I could find appreciation in just about anything --- short of mosquitoes and cockroaches !

Of course, in time my focus narrowed to the orders Lepidoptera and Coleoptera thus leaving behind the others because, one simply cannot dabble in it all. However, I have still managed to maintain a "passing" interest in a few families sprinkled amongst half a dozen other orders. I catch those (odd things) here and there when I'm out in the field and they're very presence in my collection periodically "spurs" me to say something about them.
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Re: Beeflies !

Post by kevinkk »

I like the hoverflies and beeflies. Yes, when I was younger, I caught everything. Now, it is different, and I have narrowed the field a bit, but
all insects are fair game, especially something new or to cool to pass up.
Here we have several species I have noticed of hoverflies and the beeflies.
Cockroaches? Like the one I spotted in a Sizzler eatery one night? The employees weren't sure how to handle that. It remained at large. Hard to catch without equipment.
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Re: Beeflies !

Post by Chuck »

It came up at Cornell that if a hoverfly / beefly is facing you, stick out your finger toward it (horizontal) and then make a circle, and the hoverfly will come to you. The entomologists there said it really does work.
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