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Species Lepidophora lepidocera - Scaly Bee Fly

Lepidophora lepidocera Moth (I think!) - Lepidophora lepidocera Fly - Lepidophora lepidocera Scaly Bee Fly - Lepidophora lepidocera Bug 071216nick - Lepidophora lepidocera Scaly Bee Fly - Lepidophora lepidocera fly - Lepidophora lepidocera Robber Fly? - Lepidophora lepidocera
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)
Subfamily Ecliminae
Genus Lepidophora
Species lepidocera (Scaly Bee Fly)
Explanation of Names
Species name, lepidocera is a compound of lepido (scale) + -cera (wax). (Based on Internet searches.)
Size
10 mm length (approx.) See remarks.
Identification
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)
Range
Includes eastern US (FL, GA, IA, LA, MO, NC, OH, OK, SC, TX - and probably intervening/adjacent states)
Habitat
Old fields, adjacent to deciduous woodlands.
Season
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.
Food
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.
Life Cycle
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.
Remarks
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.
See Also
Lepidophora lutea is very similar but its pale scales are mostly yellow, and there are abundant yellow scales on the sides of the fourth abdominal segment
Print References
Taber, pp. 73-74, fig. 61, gives a common name, discusses life history (1).
Brimley, p. 342--L. aegeriiformis (2)
Evans, pp. 230-231 (3)
Internet References
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.
ITIS: aegeriiformis is a junior synonym of lepidocera.
Cirrus Imaging 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)
Works Cited
1.Insects of the Texas Lost Pines (W.L. Moody, Jr., Natural History Series, No. 33)
Stephen W. Taber, Scott B. Fleenor. 2003. M University Press.
2.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
3.The Wasps
Howard Ensign Evans, Mary Jane West Eberhard. 1970. University of Michigan Press.