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Photo#53799
Bee fly - Bombylius mexicanus - female

Bee fly - Bombylius mexicanus - Female
Fews Ford, Eno River State Park, Orange County, North Carolina, USA
May 24, 2006
Size: 10 mm
Several of these were hovering about one foot (30 cm) off the ground in a mown lawn right at the edge of a woodland at about 4:30 p.m. They would pause occasionally to perch on the grass or forbs of the lawn. I presume this was in order to warm up, as it was a cool afternoon. When I've seen this sort of hovering behavior in Bombylius major, I have been told it is the males on the look-out for females--see caption to this photo:



Length estimated, and would be body length, without the proboscis. Identification based on the other image in the guide to date. (Heterostylum is similar to Bombylius, but has a broader head. See this image for discussion:



I note, too, that this fly, was about some time after the early spring Bombylius major has quit flying. This phenology is consistent with that of Lew's specimen above, found on May 18 in Alabama.

This individual was associated with several others, including this one:



The conclusion is that this is a Bombylius, and not a Heterostylum--see discussion under Lew's image. This might be B. atriceps, but this is a difficult group. I consulted Giff Beaton about these flies, and he has seen very similar ones in Georgia, but keying to species, and even being completely certain about the genus, is difficult.

Moved
I'm reasonably confident this is B. mexicanus. The wing pattern and and row of white spots on the abdomen (found in females only) both fit, and the gestalt is right too. This is quite a common fly in the east, and as you note it flies after B. major (with some overlap, at least in Ontario).

Moved from Bombylius.

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