Species Lepidophora lepidocera - Scaly Bee Fly
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Family Bombyliidae (Bee Flies)
Species lepidocera (Scaly Bee Fly)
Explanation of Names
Species name, lepidocera is a compound of lepido (scale) + -cera (wax). (Based on Internet searches.)
10 mm length (approx.) See remarks.
Hunch-backed shape is shared with L. lutea
. In L. lepidocera
, the pale scales are white or pale yellow, and usually no pale scales are evident on the fourth abdominal segment. Also note fringe at end of abdomen.
May be a mimic of Robber-flies and/or bumblebees. (1)
Includes eastern US (FL, GA, IA, LA, MO, NC, OH, OK, SC, TX - and probably intervening/adjacent states)
Old fields, adjacent to deciduous woodlands.
Late summer-fall? Into November in Piedmont, North Carolina. Brimley (2)
lists the species for August-September in the mountains of that state. Insects of Cedar Creek, Minnesota
reports flight of this genus in July and August.
Adults are seen on flowers, presumably taking nectar. Insects of Cedar Creek reports they like to visit a Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum). Another reference from Minnesota lists Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) as a nectar source. Seen on goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and Bushy Aster (Symphyotrichum dumosum) in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
Larvae of Lepidophora
are parasites of solitary wasps (Vespidae and Sphecidae). See: Sivinskil, Marshall, and Petersson, KLEPTOPARASITISM AND PHORESY IN THE DIPTERA. Florida Entomologist vol. 82 no. 2, p. 179xx, available at this web site
. (That article quotes the primary reference as Hull, F. M. 1973. Bee Flies of the World. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.)
Evans, p. 230 (3)
, lists this species as a kleptoparasite of "certain twig-nesters" (wasps). The larva is reported to feed on the contents of one cell and then to break through into an adjacent cell and to devour its contents as well.
A specimen of this species measured 7/30/2006 in Durham, North Carolina measured in a straight line, from tip of abdomen to front of head, 10 mm. The body is so crooked (like an "L"), the length measured along both legs of the "L" would be about 13 mm.
is very similar but its pale scales are mostly yellow, and there are abundant yellow scales on the sides of the fourth abdominal segment
Taber, pp. 73-74, fig. 61, gives a common name, discusses life history (1)
Brimley, p. 342--L. aegeriiformis (2)
North Carolina State University Entomology Collection lists just one species found in North Carolina for this genus, "lopidocera" = lepidocera.
Insects of Cedar Creek, Minnesota
adult images of undetermined Lepidophora
species (John Haarstad et al
, U. of Minnesota)
Giff Beaton's page on bee flies
includes a photo of this species.
is a junior synonym of lepidocera
live adult images (Bruce Marlin, Illinois)
distribution; PDF doc
and type specimen locality (Neal Evenhuis and D.J. Greathead, World Catalog of Bee Flies, part 2)
|2.||Insects of North Carolina|
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Howard Ensign Evans, Mary Jane West Eberhard. 1970. University of Michigan Press.
Contributed by Cotinis
on 16 March, 2004 - 6:50pm
Additional contributions by Robin McLeod
Last updated 30 July, 2006 - 8:39pm