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

Near Vulture Peak in western Maricopa Co., Arizona. 21 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 several Poecilanthrax species that might be found in the Sonoran Desert or nearby habitats. They use caterpillars of owlet moths (Noctuidae) as prey in the larval stage.

A Few of the many, many other Bee-Fly Species (thumbs):

another similar species of beefly © by Mike Plagens   © by Mike Plagens 

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created updated 3 Sept. 2016.