bumble bee mimic robber fly

(Laphria posticata)

Conservation Status
bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria posticata)
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

This is a small to medium-sized, robust, robber fly. The thorax and abdomen are partially covered with long yellow hairs making it resemble a bumble bee. It is thought to be a mimic of golden northern bumble bee (Bombus fervidus). Adults are ½ to 11 16 long

The thorax is stout, black, and evenly covered with long yellow hairs. There is a tuft of black hairs in front of the wings and a tuft of mostly yellow hairs with a few black hairs in front of the balancing organs (halteres). The hairs on exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax (scutellum) are black.

On the male, abdominal segment (tergite) 1 is entirely covered with black hairs; tergite 2 has a patch of yellow hairs on the trailing edge (posterior) at each side of the upper surface (dorsolateral); tergite 3 has a similar but larger patch; tergite 4 is completely covered with yellow hairs; tergite 5 is covered by yellow hairs except for the forward (anterior) middle part, which has black hairs; tergites 6 and 7 are entirely covered with black hairs. The female is similar except tergites 1 and 2 are entirely black, and only tergite 3 has yellow dorsolateral patches.

There are two large compound eyes and three small simple eyes (ocelli). The compound eyes extend above the level of the top of the head (vertex), making the head appear hollowed out between the eyes when viewed from the front. The ocelli are arranged in a triangle on a prominent rounded projection (tubercle) in the middle of the head between the compound eyes. The upper face has long, yellow, erect hairs. There is a cluster of forward-directed bristles (a “beard”) on the lower part of the face. The beard on males is entirely yellow. On females there are yellow hairs at the upper margin of the beard, black hairs below. The hairs below the sucking mouth part (proboscis) are yellow on the male, black on the female. The antennae have 3 segments. The third segment is elongated.

The legs are stout and spiny. On the male, the third segment (femur) of the hind leg has a weak line of yellow hairs above (dorsally) and below (ventrally). On the female these are all black. The fourth segment (tibia) of the front and middle legs are covered with long hairs. On the female, these are all black. On the male, the hairs on the front (anterior) side are black, those on the back (posterior) side are yellow. On the female they are all black. The hind tibia of both sexes have all black hairs.

The last segment of the foot (tarsus) has 2 pads.

The above description refers to the nominate subspecies L. p. posticata. The other subspecies that may be found in Minnesota is L. p. scutellaris. It has yellow or golden-yellow hairs on the margin of the scutellum and on the upper surface of the hind tibia. Tergite 6 is covered with yellow hairs.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ½ to 11 16

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Woodlands and woodland edges

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

June through August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

 

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flying insects, including bees, wasps, beetles, and other robber flies

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30.

 
  7/9/2018      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

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

Infraorder

Muscomorpha  
 

Superfamily

Asiloidea  
 

Family

Asilidae (robber flies)  
 

Subfamily

Laphriinae  
 

Tribe

Laphriini  
 

Genus

Laphria (bee-like robber flies, bumble bee mimic robber flies)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria posticata posticata)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Bombomima brunnea

Bombomima scutellaris

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Few of the North American Laphria species have a common name. The common name for the genus is bee-like robber fly. Laphria sacrator is one of several species famous for being a bumble bee mimic, so “bumble bee mimic robber fly” will stand in for the common name.

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Proboscis

The protruding, tubular mouthpart of a sucking insect.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Tergum; tergite

The upper (dorsal), hardened plate on a segment of the thorax or abdomen of an arthropod. Plural: terga.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

Vertex

The upper surface of an insect’s head.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Luciearl

 
 

Robber Fly having a meal

 
    bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria posticata)      
           
 
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Laphria posticata
Steve Collins
  Laphria posticata  
     

 

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  Luciearl
6/27/2018

Location: Cass County

Robber Fly having a meal

bumble bee mimic robber fly (Laphria posticata)  
           
 
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