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Family Bombyliidae - Bee Flies

Beefly - Bombylius major - male Drinking at the Water's Edge - Villa inops Thevenetimyia Bee fly Bombylius major - Bombylius major Orange County Bee Fly Archives #260 - Exoprosopa? Nope. - Ligyra gazophylax Orange County Bee Fly Archives - Mom's picking up another load of sand - Villa - female ?genus Geron - Geron Bombyliid - Villa inops
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Superfamily Asiloidea
Family Bombyliidae (Bee Flies)
Size
body 4-40 mm
Identification
Hairy, often brightly colored flies. Legs usually slender, Wings often have dark markings, held outstretched at rest. Face not hollowed out. Eyes almost touching above, especially in males. Proboscis either short with broad tip, or long and used to take nectar. Hover and dart, rather like syrphid flies. Females sometimes seen hovering over sandy areas, dipping abdomen to oviposit.
Key to e. Canada spp.(3)
Key to e. US spp. here; checklist
Review of world fauna(4)
Range
cosmopolitan; most diverse in semi-arid and arid environments (Yeates & Lambkin 2004)
Habitat
females hover over their host's nest, often in dry areas(5)
Food
larvae are mostly external parasitoids of holometabolous, esp. soil-inhabiting, larvae (Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera), slowly consuming the host completely without making a visible wound; a few are endoparasites, predators (esp. on grasshopper eggs), or kleptoparasites; adults take nectar/pollen(5)(6)(1)
Life Cycle
larvae undergo hypermetamorphosis: 1st instar larva is active and penetrates the host's nest, then turns into a sedentary parasitoid; pupa is equipped with spines/spikes to drill out of the nest(5)
Remarks
the oldest fossils date ~140 mya(6)
See Also
Syrphidae are not as hairy and never have a long proboscis
Print References
Yeates D.K., Greathead D. (1997) The evolutionary pattern of host use in the Bombyliidae (Diptera): a diverse family of parasitoid flies. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 60(2): 149–185 (Abstract)
Internet References
Family overview (Yeates & Lambkin 2004)