Birth of a fly

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These photographs date back to 31 May 2014.  May is a very busy month in the bee hotels.  The bee hotels are much busier than I had ever suspected.

On 24 May three different species of bee were emerging at the same time so it was difficult to concentrate on what to focus on.  The bees emerge daily and I visit with my camera in hand.

On the 31st I saw something starting to emerge.  It looked different but I was hoping for yet another bee species.  Then I thought perhaps a solitary wasp but I think what I have here is a parasitic fly, perhaps a Leucophora species.

I have seen what I think are Cacoxenus indagator , with their red eyes, around the hotels in the past but these are tiny fruit fly sized creatures.  The hole that can be seen in the photograph of the fly has a diameter of 7-8 milimetres, which makes the fly coming up to 2 cm. long


Unfortunately, I saw a similar for the second time on 28 September 2014.  It was examining my newest bee hotel.  Because I had put it up so late in the season only Anthidium manicatum has nested here.  This sort of bee hotel can be opened so it is something I can look out for when I open it.

Any information anyone has on these flies would be greatly appreciated.




9 thoughts on “Birth of a fly

  1. Great set of pictures… as per the norm!
    I’m sure that Susan is probably looking the fly up…
    which reminds me… I saw an Ivy Bee mimic a couple of days ago…
    it was hovering at a Cosmos… aha! I thought.. aha! Ivy Bee…
    but then noticed as it settled that it only had the one pair of wings…
    and then, on closer inspection…. it had a fly’s head.
    but the thorax and abdomen were almost perfect copies!!
    Isn’t nature wonderful!!


  2. Your mystery fly is Anthrax anthrax, a bee fly that parasitises solitary bees that nest in wood. The wings will darken until they are mostly opaque black. You can just see the shadows developing. They are a beautiful fly, one of my faves. (BTW, Leucophora spp would be about a quarter of the size of Anthrax. They look like house flies with shining white cheeks.)


    • Thanks for the ID. I had seen pictures of Anthrax anthrax but I had not quite realised the size of it and also the fact that as mine is just newly hatched its wings would be darkening too. I will be able to ID it now, I am sure. Amelia


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