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Tawny-tailed Bee Fly - Villa fulviana

Tawny-tailed Bee Fly - Villa fulviana
Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada
September 3, 2004
body length 10 mm; on ox-eye daisy near ocean. The appearance, habitat, date, and geographic location are all close to this fly but I don't think it's Bombylius major (which has a long proboscis and which I've only seen in spring). This one had no noticeable proboscis. Any ideas on genus/species?

prob. Villa fulviana
This is probably Villa fulviana. Most of the bee flies with entirely or almost entirely clear wings and this general shape would be Villa. The genus needs to be revised, which makes identifications tricky, but this seems to be a disctinctive species. The lack of black hairs on the sides of the abdomen and dark leading edge of the wing are marks for the species. I've moved it to the genus level for now.

Thanks Joel. Did you check the U of G collection for this one? If not, where did you find the info on the markings of fulviana? The only web image I could find was at Cedar Creek; the hair on their pinned specimen is very pale (although I suppose it could have faded over time) and the wings show no trace of black, which is something I would not expect to completely disappear after death. Would you consider Cedar Creek's specimen to be atypical?

I've found some keys to the genus (dating to 1892 and 1926) for a project I'm working on, and I also looked at the collection. V. fulviana appears to be one of the most common species, but it is quite variable in terms of both colouration and size. It isn't entirely clear from the literature I've looked at, but there may be two forms of the species, with only one having dark colouration on the wings. All of the Ontario specimens I looked at had this feature. Both the Cedar Creek image and yours show the other feature of this species however, which is apparently unique among north-eastern Villa - the lack of black hairs on the sides of the abdomen.

Sounds good
Thanks for checking the collection. I'll make a Guide page and include the "no black hairs on sides of abdomen" and other points you mentioned.

Guide page
Hmmm... I may have to revise my identification. I think the variety "nigricauda" you mention in the guide page is the dark winged form - but I just noticed that Evenhuis and Greathead's catalogue treats this form as a separate species. That doesn't mean it is in fact a separate species, and I haven't seen it treated as such elsewhere, but without a modern revision they treated all available names in the genus as full species. Perhaps a note in the guide page that nigricauda is being treated as a part of V. fulviana would be appropriate.

As for the range, the catalog lists essentially all of North America except for the south-east as having records of V. fulviana. With the NCSU record, it would seem that the species occurs across the continent.

Guide revised
I changed the range to include all of NA except possibly the southeast, and added a note about nigricauda.

Insects of Cedar Creek links should help/other Bugguide image
Check out these pages, and linked images, from Insects of Cedar Creek, Minnesota:
Page on Bombyliidae
Phenology--one can see that not that many things are typically collected in fall. Maybe Villa is likely? I'll not say anything else--I'm off-base on flies more often than not these days...

On that bee fly already posted--it does look similar to yours, and I agree that fly is not Bombylius, so I changed the caption to say simply "Bee Fly".

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

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