grasshopper bee fly

(Systoechus vulgaris)

Conservation Status
grasshopper bee fly
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Grasshopper bee fly is a small, stout-bodied, bee fly. It occurs across North America from Massachusetts to Oregon and south to Arizona and Georgia. It is especially common in the Great Plains, where it is the most common bee fly.

Adults are 3 16 to (5 to 10 mm) long, including the pile (hairs) but not including the elongated mouthpart (proboscis). The body is black but is densely covered with long, pale yellow to dark yellow hairs. It is curved when viewed from the side.

The head and the first segment of the thorax are directed downward. The face is covered with abundant long black hairs and fewer yellow hairs that are only half as long as the black ones. The hairs around the simple eyes (ocelli) are black. On the female, the hairs around the mouthparts are often two times as long as the second antennal segment. The antennae have three segments. The third segment is not divided by rings (annulated).

The small, knob-like structures on each side of the thorax (halteres) are yellow. The wings are clear and may have a yellowish tint. The veins are yellow or brown. The radius median cross-vein is near the base of the discal cell.

The legs are long, slender, and mostly rusty yellow. On the male, the first segment (coxa) and the base of the third segment (femur) are dark. On the female, only the coxa is dark. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has three segments. The last segment has three pads at the end. On both sexes, the tarsus is brown to black. The spines on the legs are yellow. The spines on the tarsus are brown to black.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 3 16 to (5 to 10 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

 

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

 

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

They usually do not land on flowers but hover over them, making these insects especially difficult to photograph.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Grasshopper egg pods

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

The wings are held spread out when a rest.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30.

 
  2/7/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

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

Infraorder

Muscomorpha  
 

Superfamily

Asiloidea  
 

Family

Bombyliidae (bee flies)  
 

Subfamily

Bombyliinae  
 

Tribe

Bombyliini  
 

Genus

Systoechus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

common bee fly

grasshopper 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.

 

Ocellus

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

 

Tarsus

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

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
 

 

 
    grasshopper bee fly   grasshopper bee fly  
           
    grasshopper bee fly   grasshopper bee fly  
           
 
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  Alfredo Colon
7/23/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

grasshopper bee fly  
           
 
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Created: 2/7/2019

Last Updated:

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