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.

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Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

James Marshall and I stumbled upon this peculiar insect while shooting macro. I don’t know how I spotted it to be completely honest. I didn’t notice the eyes at first glance and it was extremely small. As I approached and noticed movement I realized this is something I don’t believe I have spotted in the past. Really excited about finding this bug and hope to see it again.

These are predaceous insects that station themselves on flowers in brushy areas to ambush smaller insects.

from Wikipedia – Armed with raptorial forelegs, ambush bugs routinely capture prey ten or more times their own size. They form a subgroup within the assassin bugs.

Red Florida Tassel Weed

Red Florida Tassel Weed

These little weeds are plentiful around south Florida. I had my stacked extension tubes on and this is at 2:1 macro. I really enjoy weeds and photographing things we often overlook as beautiful and trying to protray them as such. You will commonly find Julia butterflies sipping nectar from these particular plants.