Small Flower-Loving Bee-fly

Poecilognathus sp.

a bee fly, Poecilognathus sp.,  photo © by Mike Plagens

This small bee-fly is using its elongated proboscis to probe into the anthers of this Summer Poppy flower. Gladden, La Paz Co., Arizona, USA. Actual size is about 6 mm.

Bombyliidae -- Bee-Fly Family

Before being dispersed by a bee or wasp the Summer Poppy must keep the pollen grains alive and fresh so that they can germinate on the stigmas of distant flowers. Here's a source of water and perhaps some sugars that the bee-fly is exploiting. Even after the start of monsoon rains when summer poppies grow, finding water is a survival must. There are many species of bee-flies with a range of biologies, but most are parasitic on ground nesting insects such as bees, beetles, moth larvae and grasshoppers. Geron, one genus, has some 35 species recorded for North America. The convex thorax gives them a hunchback look. The dorsum of this species is covered with silky black hairs.

These are flower-loving insects and might be very important pollinators and thus key species in the ecosystem. They should not be poisoned or destroyed.

Summer Poppy

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 Oct. 2017.