Can you guess the setting?

Anyone care to guess what this celestial looking scene really is? It’s not some distant planet taken by a low orbiting satellite…

Can you guess the setting?

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The Monk Skipper who Stopped to Smell the Roses! True Story!

Monk Skipper (Asbolis capucinus)

Monk Skipper

Deanna has a garden outside that apparently is an insect rest stop of sorts. This little skipper not only stopped to smell the roses, but stayed on them beginning in the afternoon until mid morning the following day. This behavior is known as roosting and this typically occurs during inclement weather.

This particular skipper is common in south Florida. Whether at first glance you called this little guy a moth or a butterfly you would be partially correct ; they have characteristics of both insects.

If you notice my second photograph you more easily see the beautiful scales that make up the wing. In fact the group that encompasses moths and butterflies is lepidoptera which means scaly (lepido) winged (ptera).

Monk Skipper Closeup

The average lifespan is said to be about 7 days so it’s pretty fascinating that this insect chose her plant outside to spend a sizable chunk of it’s life.

I love these skippers because they are often very difficult to photograph. They typically spend a brief amount of time darting and skipping from each flower and can be especially skittish. I was very fortunate to find this one.

This skipper is called a monk skipper due to it’s coloration. Think of a capuchin monk!

It’s a bee?… It’s a fly? No, It’s a bee fly!

It's a bee?... It's a fly? No, It's a bee fly!

Meet bombyliidae!

I remember taking this shot in 2011 at Riverbend park in Jupiter Florida. Most photographers that I know use the park to shoot deer and birds. I typically visit a small grassy section that is often overlooked.

The area is host to a chimney that is surrounded by uncut grass, weeds, and a ridiculous number of insects. It’s a scene that looks like some post apocalyptic world that was long forgotten providing you take the pristine asphalt and wooden fence out of the equation. The title above? It’s the conversation I had with myself when my brain was trying to decipher the bee-like thick hair and the obvious fly eyes.

By the way… in case you haven’t figured it out it is actually a fly that resembles a bee. The resemblance is said to possibly be aposematic; a characteristic in which the fly could possible be perceived as a bee. This affords the fly some protection.

Think of it as his God-given halloween costume except no wardrobe changes are necessary.
This is from wikipedia –

Bombyliidae is a large family of flies with hundreds of genera, although their life cycles are not well known. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, thus are pollinators of flowers. They superficially resemble bees, thus are commonly called bee flies, and this may offer the adults some protection from predators. In parts of East Anglia locals refer to them as ‘beewhals’, thanks to their tusk-like appendages.

The larval stages are predators or parasitoids of other insect eggs and larvae. The adult females usually deposit eggs in the vicinity of possible hosts, quite often in the burrows of beetles or wasps/solitary bees. Where most often in the insect world parasitoids are highly specific in the host species that they will infect, some bombyliids are opportunistic and will use a variety of hosts.