Posts Tagged: Bob Kimsey
There are "bees" and there are "flies."
And then there are "bee flies."
Bee flies? They're so named because they look somewhat like bees. Order: Diptera. Family: Bombyliidae.
We spotted a single bee fly, as identified by UC Davis forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey, foraging on our sedum yesterday. Like a bee, it's a pollinator; the adult bee fly feeds on nectar and pollen. Entomologists estimate there are some 4500 described species of bee flies throughout the world, varying in size from 4 to 40mm.
In the larval stages, they are parasitoids; the adult bee fly lays her eggs in the nests of wasps, beetles or solitary bees. Then the larvae ungraciously thank their hosts by eating them.
This large bee fly (below) apparently found the nectar to its liking. It lumbered from flower to flower sipping nectar.
The honey bees, hover flies and leafcutter bees all scrambled to avoid a collision.
Sip of Nectar
Honey bees sip nectar from the Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias wulfenii) planted in our bee friendly garden.
So do flies.
Last weekend several flies flashing colors as brilliant as those blue morpho butterflies landed on the evergreen shrub.
It wasn't your basic green bottle fly. No, indeed.
This fly was the European blue bottle fly, Calliphora vicinia, as identified by UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey.
Check out the photos below showing the metallic blue-silvery coloration of the thorax and abdomen.
C. vicinia is known as a "colder-weather bottle fly," prevalent in early spring and fall when temperatures are relatively cool, about 55-75 Fahrenheit. It lays its eggs in dead bodies and sometimes inside infected wounds in healthy tissue. It's a fly species of significant forensic importance.So here was this blue bottle fly on green blossoms.
The fly was gathering some quick energy, a sugar high.
The museum houses some seven million specimens.
And that includes...drum roll...the European blue bottle fly.
Blue on Green
Sip of Nectar