Black-Speckled Bee-fly


a bee fly, Anthrax sp,  photo © by Mike Plagens

Saguaro National Monument, East Unit, Pima Maricopa Co., Arizona. 28 Aug. 2016.

Bombyliidae -- Bee-Fly Family

Bee-flies resemble bees for a good reason: it provides these otherwise defenseless insects a measure of protection from insectivorous birds and lizards. These flies do not sting nor do they come to food at picnics nor garbage. As adults they spend a lot of time hovering close to the soil in a bare patch and feeding is generally restricted to nectar from flowers. Some have specialized, long and slender, flower-feeding mouthparts - these are not used for biting people. There are many species of bee-flies with a range of biologies, but most are parasitic on ground nesting insects such as bees, beetles and grasshoppers. There are up to three Anthrax very similar species that might be found in the Sonoran Desert or nearby habitats. They use ground-nesting insect larvae as prey in the larval stage.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created updated 02 Oct. 2016.