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Bombylius major

Bombylius major
Photo Information
Copyright: Denis Mark (dmark11) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 9 N: 655] (2633)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-08-02
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 100 mm F2.8 Macro USM
Exposure: f/11, 1/125 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-08-02 22:11
Viewed: 2645
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Bombylius major
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Bombyliidae
Genus: Bombylius
Species: B. major
Binomial name
Bombylius major
Linnaeus, 1758

The large bee fly, Bombylius major, is a bee mimic. The eggs are flicked by the adult female toward the entrance of the underground nests of solitary bees and wasps. After hatching, the larvae find their way into the nests to feed on the grubs.

Bombylius major can be found in April to June throughout temperate Europe and North America and some parts of Asia.

The adult is 14 to 18 millimetres (0.55 to 0.71 in) in length, squat and very hairy, with a wingspan of around 24 mm (0.94 in). It has dark patches on the anterior half of the wings and long hairy legs that dangle while in flight. Bee flies are expert flyers, and their hovering habit has led to their being incorrectly called a species of hoverfly (Syrphidae). The very long proboscis is used to feed on the nectar of many species of flower, especially primroses.

Bombylius major is one of two species that are large bee-flies. The other being the very rare dotted bee-fly (Bombylius discolor).

Bearing an extremely strong resemblance to bees their body is stout and furry, with the top of the thorax being black and shiny and the pile either brown, yellow, or white. They have long spindly legs as well as a long rigid proboscis found in the front of the head. Their boldly patterned wings have a distinct dividing border through the horizontal middle between the dark and clear portions. Their antennae are typically very short and pointed. In the field they will be seen hovering and darting above bare ground or flowers, in an up-and-down movement, accompanied by a high-pitched buzz.

Bombylius major mimic bees to allow them to get close to the bees burrow. When close, the female will flick the eggs into or near the nests of the host insects. The larvae are parasitoids which then feed on the food stored, as well as the young solitary bees or wasps. If the female is unable to flick their eggs near the nest they’ll plant them on flowers visited by the host insects. The developing larvae then make their way to the host nest or attach themselves to the bees or wasps to then be carried to the nest. Although Bombylius major is an excellent pollinator, the larvae limit the population of other pollinators

PaulLees, aruntp, Alex99, nagraj, maaciejka has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Denis,

Very nice capture of this fine species of Bombylius major, good sharpness with fine clarity, superb exposure/lighting, fabulous and strong composition here Denis, great work and well done,
Best regards,


wonderful macro. good lighting. tfs.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-08-03 1:30]

Hi Denis,a top class macro whit great choice of point of view and fantastic sharpness and light balance,not easy a perfection like that!Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-08-03 1:35]

Hi Denis.
Your individual is different from mine. However, it is also very cute and quality of the shot is great. Natural and beautiful surroundings of the picture is also a sweet point. My compliments and TFS.

Excellent capture. sharp detail, nice colours and lighting. regards vijeesh

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2011-08-03 5:51]

Fine image and portrait of this curious bee-fly, well captured. tfs.

Hi Denis,
very interesting photo of this bee. Very good sharpness. Nice natural colours. Very good composition.
Thanks for sharing,

Interesting life-cycle! Excellent photo, good to see all the fine details of the fly. regards yiannis

Hello Denis!
Wow!!! Your pic here is amazing! very sharp and finely composed.Bravo!Thnaks for sharing with us and also thanks for visiting my gallery!
Regards from,

Interesting subject and impressive macro Denis! Very good composition and wonderful colours. The sharpness is impressive.

Really nice close-up!
I am really impressed by the spines on the proboscis (help to measure the distance inside the flower?)
Congrats and TFS,

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