Friday Fellow: Cute bee fly

ResearchBlogging.orgby Piter Kehoma Boll

Recently the appearance of a new pokémon, Cutiefly, has brought a lot of attention to the real world species in which it is based. So why not bring it to Friday Fellow so that you may know a little more about this creature? Its name is Anastoechus nitidulus, which I will call here “cute bee fly”, as most people find it very cute.

The cute bee fly is indeed very cute. Photo extracted from modernhorse.tumblr.com

The cute bee fly is indeed very cute. Photo extracted from modernhorse.tumblr.com

The cute bee fly belongs to the family of flies called Bombyliidae and commonly known as bee flies. The name comes from the fact that adults usually feed on nectar and polen, just like bees, and some of them are important pollinators.

Feeding. Photo extracted from reddit, posted by usar AnanasJonas.

Feeding. Photo extracted from reddit, posted by user AnanasJonas.

Unfortunately, just as many species, the cute bee fly may be very popular among laypeople and you find a lot of nice pictures of it on the web, just as the one above. However, scientifically, very little is known about its ecology.

Nevertheless, on thing is certain: despite its cuteness, it is not such a lovely creature. Its adult life flying from flower to flower hides a dark and evil past. During their period as larvae, bee flies are predators or parasitoids, meaning that they grow up by eating another animal alive, from inside out, in something that is certainly very horrible for the poor victim.

In the case of the cute bee fly, things are not that terrible. They feed on the egg-pods of grasshoppers, especially of the genus Calliptamus, so we can say that they are parasitoids of eggs instead of adults, but then you realize that eggs have embryos, so they are actually baby-eaters!

O_O

O_O

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References:

Brooks, A. (2012). Identification of Bombyliid Parasites and Hyperparasites of Phalaenidae of the Prairie Provinces of Canada, with Descriptions of Six Other Bombyliid Pupae (Diptera) The Canadian Entomologist, 84 (12), 357-373 DOI: 10.4039/Ent84357-12

Jazykov (Zakhvatkin), A. (2009). Parasites and Hyperparasites of the Egg-pods of injurious Locusts (Acridodea) of Turkestan Bulletin of Entomological Research, 22 (03) DOI: 10.1017/S0007485300029904

Wikipedia. Bombyliidae. Available at < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombyliidae >. Access on July 26, 2016.

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Filed under Entomology, Friday Fellow, Parasites, Zoology

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