Bombylius canescens

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Bombylius canescens, (commonly known as the Western bee-fly[1]) is a species of bee-fly belonging to the family Bombyliidae.

B. canescens is a Palearctic species with limited distribution in Europe,[2] usually found in arid to semi-arid habitats.


B.canescens belong to the genus Bombylius, which is located within the subfamily Bombyliinae of family Bombyliidae.

There is dispute over whether Bombylius fugax, Bombylius cinerascens and Bombylius minor are synonymous species to B.canescens,[3][1] or rather distinct species.[4][5]


Adult flies in the family Bombyliidae may have short or long proboscides.[6] Variation in proboscides length is often seen at the subfamily level. B.canescens is a Bombyliid fly of the long-proboscis variety. Specimens collected in Italy had proboscis of lengths within the range of 7-9 mm.[7] The proboscis of Bombyliid flies are not retractable.[5]

The species has pale tawny hairs, and has wings with the base and foremargin that are light brown. Black hair protrudes from the sides of the face and a cross-band under the antenna. The head possesses numerous long black hairs behind the eyes. The thorax does not have any black hairs between the humeri and the base of the wings. The femora is mainly black".[8]


A general description of the range of B.canescens from 1796 includes countries across the Southern belt of Western, Central and Eastern Europe.[9] Further sources include observe the fly in Malta,[10] Jordan,[4] Spain,[11] Ireland,[12] Turkey,[9] Austria,[5] Italy,[6] Wales, and England.[1]

Life history

Bombylius fly larvae are ectoparasitoids that parasitise other insect larvae. B.canescens larvae parasitise the larvae of ground-nesting bees.[13]

Adult B.canescens are more commonly observed in the early spring,[4] when adult activity coincides with nest initiation of host species.[14]

Food resources

In contrast to the parasitic larvae, adult B.canescens are anthophilic and only feed on flowers. Adult B.canescens are capable of digesting pollen as well as nectar.[13] The larval stage is the only point at which proteinaceous feeding occurs, where the larvae parasitize/predate larval bees.

In Spain, adults have been observed visiting and pollinating Petrocoptis grandiflora.[11]

Currently, researchers have been unable to isolate a specific type of flower or plant that is exclusively pollinated by bee-flies; however, observations of B.canescens from Central Europe and Italy recorded visits by adults to the following flowers:[5]

Parental care

Dissection studies have revealed that females with mature oocytes in their ovaries and females with oocytes in the stage of vitellogenesis have strongly dilated crops.[13]

Adult B.canescens are found among parasitic guilds, which include other Bombyliidae flies at aggregations of bee nests.[7] The flies hover over bee nests to position themselves for oviposition.[12] Females achieve oviposition into bee nests by a sudden jerk or flick of the abdomen.[15] The mobile parasitic larvae that are oviposited into the nest initially feed on provisions meant for bee larvae, then hypermetamorphosise into carnivores.[16]

Interactions with other species

B.canescens have been observed targeting bees as host species across the Lasioglossum, Andrena, Halictus and Odynerus genera.[7] Adults have also been observed searching for nests of Panurgus banksianus, a potential host species.[17]


B.canescens specimens were studied in a study of cranial physiology done on Brachycera flies. Observations from the specimen guided the conclusion that the mushroom body calyx is well developed in flies of the order Bombyliidae.[18]


B.canescens has not been assigned a threat rating by the IUCN.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bombylius canescens Mikan, 1796 – Western Bee-fly – Natural History Museum". www.nhm.ac.uk. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  2. ^ "Fauna Europaea".
  3. ^ "Bombylius canescens : Western Bee-Fly | NBN Atlas". species.nbnatlas.org. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  4. ^ a b c Katbeh-Bader, Ahmad; Arabiat, Sahar (2004-09-24). "The bee flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae) of Jordan". Zootaxa. 654: 1–48. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.654.1.1.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kastinger, Christoph; Weber, Anton (2001-01-01). "Bee-flies (Bombylius spp., Bombyliidae, Diptera) and the pollination of flowers". Flora. 196 (1): 3–25. doi:10.1016/S0367-2530(17)30015-4. ISSN 0367-2530.
  6. ^ a b Szucsich, N. U.; Krenn, H. W. (2002). "Flies and concealed nectar sources: morphological innovations in the proboscis of Bombyliidae (Diptera)". Acta Zoologica. 83 (3): 183–192. doi:10.1046/j.1463-6395.2002.00111.x. ISSN 1463-6395.
  7. ^ a b c Boesi, Roberto; Polidori, Carlo; Andrietti, Francesco (2009-03-01). "Searching for the Right Target: Oviposition and Feeding Behavior in Bombylius Bee Flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae)". Zoological Studies. 48: 141–150.
  8. ^ Verrall, G. H., 1909 Stratiomyidae and succeeding families of the Diptera Brachycera of Great Britain British flies Volume 5 London : Gurney and Jackson, 1909.BHL Full text with illustrations
  9. ^ a b Ozbek, Hikmet (2016-01-01). "Contribution to the Knowledge of the Bombyliidae of Turkey (Diptera)". Linzer Biol. Beitr. 38: 455–504.
  10. ^ Schembri, S.; Gatt, P.; Schembri, J. (1991). "Recent records of flies from the Maltese Islands (Diptera)". Memorie della Societa Entomologica Italiana. 70: 255–278.
  11. ^ a b Navarro, Luis; Guitian, Javier; Guitian, Pablo (1993-01-01). "Reproductive biology of Petrocoptis grandiflora Rothm. (Caryophyllaceae), a species endemic to Northwest Iberian Peninsula". Flora. 188: 253–261. doi:10.1016/S0367-2530(17)32274-0. ISSN 0367-2530.
  12. ^ a b Carpenter, George Herbert; Praeger, Robert Lloyd (1902). The Irish Naturalist: A Monthly Journal of General Irish Natural History ... Eason & Son, Limited.
  13. ^ a b c Panov, A. A. (2007-11-01). "Sex-related diet specificity in Bombylius major and some other bombyliidae (diptera)". Entomological Review. 87 (7): 812–821. doi:10.1134/S0013873807070032. ISSN 1555-6689. S2CID 31726510.
  14. ^ Packer, Laurence; Knerer, Gerd (1986). "The Biology of a Subtropical Population of Halictus ligatus Say (Hymenoptera: Halictidae): I. Phenology and Social Organisation". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 18 (5): 363–375. doi:10.1007/BF00299667. ISSN 0340-5443. JSTOR 4599902. S2CID 39457728.
  15. ^ Hull, Frank M. (Frank Montgomery) (1973). Bee flies of the world: the genera of the family Bombyliidae. Smithsonian Libraries. Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press.
  16. ^ "Bee-Flies". crawford.tardigrade.net. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  17. ^ Spalding, Adrian & Collins, G & Haes, E. (2008). FACTORS AFFECTING THE PRESENCE OF INSECTS ON A SMALL UN-VEGETATED BANK AT AN ABANDONED MINING SITE IN WEST CORNWALL. British Journal of Entomology & Natural History. 21. 205-214.
  18. ^ Panov, A. A. (2009-06-01). "General structure of the mushroom body calyx in brachycera orthorrhapha flies (Diptera)". Biology Bulletin. 36 (3): 267–276. doi:10.1134/S1062359009030078. ISSN 1608-3059. S2CID 7815040.
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Bombylius canescens: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Bombylius canescens, (commonly known as the Western bee-fly) is a species of bee-fly belonging to the family Bombyliidae.

B. canescens is a Palearctic species with limited distribution in Europe, usually found in arid to semi-arid habitats.

Wikipedia authors and editors
visit source
partner site
wikipedia EN