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Family Bombyliidae - Bee Flies

Another fly on the back porch - Bombylius major Tan and yellow fly - Poecilognathus Bee-fly? bee fly - Xenox tigrinus - male - female Bee fly - Geron Large Chunky Fly Feeding on a Flower in Oregon - Villa A female from southern NM - Astrophanes adonis - female Hover fly on tansy ragwort - Villa
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)
Explanation of Names
Bombyliidae Latreille 1802
Numbers
ca. 800 spp. in ~70 genera of 13 subfamilies in our area(1), >5,000 spp. in >230 genera of 15 subfamilies worldwide(2)(Yeates & Lambkin 2004)
Overview of our fauna (* –taxa not yet in the guide; classification adapted from(2))
Family BOMBYLIIDAE
Subfamily USIINAE Apolysis
Subfamily PHTHIRIINAE
Subfamily TOXOPHORINAE
Tribe Gerontini Geron (subgenera Empidigeron · Geron)
Subfamily BOMBYLIINAE
Subfamily ANTHRACINAE
Size
body 4-40 mm
Identification
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 host nest, often in dry areas(5)
Food
Larvae are mostly external parasitoids of holometabolous larvae (esp. soil-dwelling Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera); a few are endoparasites, predators (esp. on grasshopper eggs), or kleptoparasites; adults take nectar/pollen(5)(6)(1)(7)
Their proboscises are often longer than(8)
Life Cycle
Females spray their miniscule eggs in almost any soil depression, hovering briefly while making flicking movements with their abdomen.(9)
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)
Pupal exuvia Pupal shell of host, fly pupal shell and adult
After mating the female drops her eggs over the soil surface. Newly hatched larvae are very active and scurry about until finding the right soil-inhabiting host, which could be beetle, fly, caterpillar, ant lion, or bee.(8)
Remarks
The oldest fossils date ~140 mya(6)
Their proboscises are often longer than bees.(8)
See Also
Syrphidae are not as hairy and never have a long proboscis
Internet References
Family overview (Yeates & Lambkin 2004)