Bombylius major    



habitat
Arid regions with loose soil of the type frequented by ground-nesting bees.

seasonality
Adult specimens have been collected from late April to mid-May, with one apparently collected in late February.

identification
16-22 mm long, 40-50 mm wingspan. Anterior half of wings dark brown and opaque, posterior half transparent. Hair exceptionally dense with orange tint. Characteristics shared with other Bombylius species include a slender first antennal segment, long scattered bristly hairs, holoptic males, conspicuously bristled hind femora, and a distinct intercalary vein (Hull 1973).

life history
Very little species-specific information available. The general bombyliid life cycle is described in Marshall (2006). Females coat eggs with a sticky substance in order to gather a protective layer of soil when they are dropped into burrows of potential hosts. First instar larvae actively penetrate host nests, then molt into sedentary ectoparasitoids, a phenomenon known as hypermetamorphosis. Pupae are equipped with rigid ornamentation to assist escape from the burrow. Adults resemble bees as a deterrent against predators, and imitate them behaviourally and functionally by feeding on nectar and spreading pollen.

conservation
No specific information could be found. It can be assumed that as parasitoids, the success of the species is dependent on the success of the host or hosts.

diet info
Larvae parasitoids of digging bees, particularly Andrena species (Dufour 1858, Chapman 1878, Bischoff 2003). Adults feed on nectar (Hull 1973).

range
Nearctic (Evenhuis & Greathead 1999).

people
species page authorMaxwell, C.2006 

quick link
http://entomology.museums.ualberta.ca/searching_species_details.php?s=5942

 

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