Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Fall Fund Drive

TaxonomyBrowseInfoImagesLinksBooksData
Photo#15253
Bee Fly Behavior - Bombylius major - male

Bee Fly Behavior - Bombylius major - Male
Parkwood, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
April 16, 2005
View from the rear, showing the outstretched hind legs as the fly hovers. Shot with natural light, 100 mm macro lens, 1/1,000 second, f8. A view from the front of the same or another fly hovering later that afternoon at the same location:



See comments under that photo for more on the behavior.

Images of this individual: tag all
Bee fly resting between bouts of hovering - Bombylius major - male Bee Fly Behavior - Bombylius major - male

Thanks Patrick
for the great images and the descriptions, the latter really add a lot to the images; let's hope others follow your example.
I'm wondering whether the back legs act as stabilizers, there must be a reason why they stick them out. This doesn't look like a photo taken with flash; notice how stable the body is such that you can see individual hairs and how fast the wings are moving. These flies have to have some great stabilizing systems!
Anthony W. Thomas

 
Stabilizing legs, etc.
Yes, I had the same thought myself--only the rear legs are projecting out--they look like they provide some extra stability. You can see in the other photo that the front and middle legs are folded up.

The photo was not taken with a flash--the flies tend to hover in sunny patches, so I was able to shoot at a fairly high shutter speed. (TTL flash exposure would be tough anyway, with such a small subject in the foreground and the background so far back.)

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.