Bee Fly - Family Bombyliidae

This page contains pictures and information about Bee Flies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Body length 12mm

Bee Fly adults have long proboscis and feed on nectar and pollen. On a sunny day, they are often seen on feed on flowers, hovering over vegetation or rest on bare ground. They are the the import pollinators, some are even the primary pollinators of some species of flower plants.

Bee Flies are hairy, most of them mimic wasps or bees (Batesian mimics of Hymenoptera). However, they have stout bodies and do not have narrowed waist. Their wings are easily recognized with distinctive vein pattern, usually dark in colour, some with patterns or spots. When at rest, their wings are flat in outspread position. 

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Bee Fly laying eggs in soil 

Some of their larvae are parasitic on other insects' eggs or larvae. The others are predaceous, free living in soil. As you might imagine, their larvae are hard to be found.

Both flies in Bee Flies family and Hover flies (Syrphidae) family mimic bees. The main character to recognize between them is Bee Flies have longer wings. Hover Flies have shorter wings with a series of closed cell on the wings hind margins.  

Comptosia Bee Fly
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Comptosia sp., subfamily Lomatiinae, body length 20mm 
This fly is large with black grey thorax. Its abdomen is shiny-black with a ring between thorax and abdomen. There are some white pattern at the end of its abdomen. They are quite common in Brisbane bush. We had misidentified this fly as March Fly (Family TABANIDAE) but Dr. Joe B. Keiper advise us by email that this should be a Bee Fly, family BOMBYLIIDAE. We like to thank Joe again here. More information and pictures of this Bee Fly can be found in here.
Bee Fly 
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Comptosia sp., subfamily Lomatiinae, body length 20mm
Pictures taken in Karawatha Forest during mid summer.  
Bee Fly
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Aleucosia sp., subfamily Lomatiinae, body length 15mm
The Bee Fly is dark brown in colour with dark brown strip on each wing front margin. The pictures were taken in Alexandra Hill during late winter.  

Bee Fly
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Villa sp. or Exoprosopa sp., subfamily Exoprosopinae, body length 12mm 
This fly look like a bee and it was hovering near flowers. We first thought it was a Hovering Fly. However, from its wing vein, we are sure it is a Bee Fly belongs to Family Bombyliidae. The pictures were taken in Macgregor Bushland during early winter. We saw this fly only once.
Bee Fly 
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Villa sp. or Exoprosopa sp., subfamily Exoprosopinae, body length 10mm
This Bee Fly looks like the above species except a bit smaller and the colours on abdomen are different. The pictures were taken in Macgregor bushland and Karawatha Park in early summer.

Bee Fly 
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Anthrax sp.? subfamily Anthracinae, body length 10mm

Bee Fly 
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? sp., subfamily Bombyliinae, body length 10mm
Pictures were taken on Alexandra Hill during late spring.
We cannot ID most of the flies we found in this family. Please advise if you recognize any of them. Thank you. 
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Last updated: February 05, 2005.