bearded bee fly

(Anastoechus barbatus)

Conservation Status
bearded bee fly
Photo by Dan W. Andree
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Bearded bee fly is a small to medium-sized, stout-bodied, bee fly. It occurs throughout the United States and southern Canada but is most common in the southwest. It is uncommon in Minnesota. Larvae are parasitic on the eggs and larvae of grasshoppers. Adults are found in fields. They feed on the pollen and nectar of dotted blazing star and white heath aster.

Adults are 316 to (5 to 15 mm) in length. The head and body are densely covered with long, erect, grayish-yellow hairs. The body is curved when viewed from the side.

The head and the first segment of the thorax are directed downward. The head is broad. The face is densely hairy, including a dense white beard, yellowish hairs around the base of the antennae, and a tuft of long black hairs on each side along the eyes. The antennae are black and have three segments. The third segment is not divided by rings (annulated). The beak-like projection of mouthparts (proboscis) is very long.

The hairs on the underside of the thorax, corresponding to the chest, are white.

The hairs on the abdomen are mostly yellowish, but there is a row of long black hairs at the rear margin of each abdominal segment. This is especially evident on the male, where the black hairs give a blackish tint to the end of the abdomen. On the female they are less evident and are usually completely absent. The small, knob-like structures on each side of the thorax (halteres) are white or pale yellow, at least at the top.

The wings are clear and may have a brownish tint at the base, especially on the male. The veins are yellowish-brown. The discal cell is present. The radius-median (r-m) cross vein is near the base of the discal cell. The vein that closes the discal cell is longer than the r-m cross vein. The M1 vein ends before the wing tip so that there are only three posterior cells. Cells R and M are about equal in length. The anal cell is open near the margin.

The legs are long, slender, and mostly reddish-yellow. The third segment (femur) for most of its length is black but densely covered with white scales. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has three segments.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

316 to (5 to 15 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Fields

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Mid-August through September (CCESR)

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active during the day. They do not bite. They frequently rest in open areas on bare ground, rocks, wood fragments, and leaves. The wings are held outspread when at rest.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female hovers over the nest of its prey. Larva undergo hypermetamorphosis, where the stages (instars) differ markedly in appearance and behavior. The first instar larva is active and penetrates the nest of its prey. It then molts and becomes a sedentary parasite. The pupa has spines with which it drills out of the nest.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Eggs and larvae of grasshoppers

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Pollen and nectar of dotted blazing star and white heath aster

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30.

Painter, R. H. (1962). The Taxonomy and Biology of Systoechus and Anastoechus Bombyliid (Diptera) Predators in Grasshopper Egg Pods. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society35(2), 255–269. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25083257

 
  10/29/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)  
 

Infraorder

Asilomorpha  
 

Superfamily

Asiloidea  
 

Family

Bombyliidae (bee flies)  
 

Subfamily

Bombyliinae  
 

Tribe

Bombyliini  
 

Genus

Anastoechus  
       
 

The superfamily Asiloidea was formerly placed in Orthorrhapha, one of two infraorders of Brachycera, a suborder of Diptera. However, it did not contain all of the descendants of the last common ancestor (paraphyletic). It was split into five extant (still existing) and one extinct infraorder. Orthorrhapha is now considered obsolete and has not been used in decades, but it persists in printed literature and on some online sources. A recent revision of the order Diptera (Pope, et al., 2011) revived the name Orthorrhapha, but this has not been widely accepted.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

bearded bee fly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Halteres

In flies: a pair of knob-like structures on the thorax representing hind wings that are used for balance.

 

Instar

The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Dan W. Andree

 
 

I seen it at Frenchman’s Bluff SNA in August 2021. First time I noticed one.

 
    bearded bee fly   bearded bee fly  
           
 
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  Dan W. Andree
August 2021

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

I seen it at Frenchman’s Bluff SNA in August 2021. First time I noticed one.

bearded bee fly  
           
 
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Created: 10/29/2021

Last Updated:

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