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Bee Fly

Family Bombyliidae (unidentified species)


Bee flies range from very small (2 mm in length) to very large for flies (wingspan of some 40 mm). They hold their wings back at rest in a "swept back" position (see photo), and can have long, tubular snouts. They have the ability to hover like hummingbirds in flight. Many superficially resemble bees, but may be easily distinguished through noting eye shape and position, lack of hair on the legs, and the shape and position of the wings.


The adults feed on nectar, and larvae parasitize other insects' eggs and larvae, so individual species live where the hosts' young live. This spotting was done at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, an estuary and bird sanctuary located next to the Pacific Ocean.


It is possibly due to the trait of rearing through parasitization that this family of Diptera is among the most numerous of fly types. Each species is relatively low in number and little is known about them. Adult bee flies are not hazardous to humans. They do not bite or sting. The young only feed on their specific prey, and so pose no threat other than possible harm to beneficial species.

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Spotted by

Orange, California, USA

Spotted on May 29, 2012
Submitted on May 30, 2012


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