Friday, 20 April 2012

Bombylius major, a bee fly

This "bee fly" is so called because it looks a bit like a furry bee.  The grubs or larvae feed on the grubs of solitary bees and wasps.  This one died on my window sill.

It's very common and can be seen poking its long schnozzle (sorry, proboscis) into spring flowers. and hovering around with a very loud and high-pitched whine.  The patterns on the leading edge of the wing are very attractive, I think.

You can remember its scientific name, Bombylius major, by thinking of it as a rather bad tempered (bilious) military gentleman (major) bombing around amongst the flowers.
"bomb-bilious-major" . . . .  Bombylius major.

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