Bombyliidae (Bee Flies) - Southern Africa's Journal

February 16, 2024

Exoprosopa strenua Loew, 1860

Large species with distinctive wing pattern: Base and band of wings black-brown, lower base and edge anteriorly more rusty, a wide clear incision between the base and the band ascending diagonally from the posterior margin, veins in the gray tip of the wings edged with whitish.

Description & illustration in:
Loew, H. 1860. Die Dipteren–Fauna Südafrika's. Erste Abtheilung. Abhandlungen des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins für Sachsen und Thüringen

Description in Hesse 1956:

Type locality: South Africa, Western Cape

iNat observations:

Posted on February 16, 2024 12:47 AM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 14, 2024

Euligyra coleoptrata (Bezzi, 1921)

A black-golden fly with dark brown wings: Scaling on thorax and base of scutellum mostly black, not yellowish ochreous or rufous, and black scaling on abdomen above very extensive, leaving only the scales on reddish parts on sides reddish yellowish. Wings distinctly dark bronzy brownish, the infuscation uniform, with violaceous reflections, with the darker spot-like infuscations on cross veins very feebly indicated.

Original description in:
Bezzi, M. 1921. On the bombyliid fauna of South Africa (Diptera) as represented in the South African Museum. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 18

Redescription in Hesse 1956:

Distribution: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

iNat observations:

Posted on February 14, 2024 05:45 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 08, 2024

Bombylella rufiventris (Macquart 1846)

This species is easily recognised by the whitish hair on the thorax in front in males, the presence of reddish or reddish yellow, depressed scaling on scutellum and disc of abdomen above, especially in females and the black hair tufts on the side of the abdomen.

Original description in:
Macquart, P.J.M. 1846. Diptères exotiques nouveaux ou peu connus. Supplement. [1]. Mem. Soc. R. Sci. Agric. Arts, Lille 1844

Translated from Latin & French:
Red hairy. The apex of the abdomen is black, with white dorsal spots.
Face and fron black; a tuft of white hairs on each side of the face and on the posterior edge of the vertex. Antennae black. Thorax with patch of white hair on the shoulders. Abdomen with reddish scales; tufts of black hair on the sides. Legs black. Wings clear; a little yellowish at the base and outer edge; small cross vein located at one third of the discoidal cell; anal cell half-open.

Rediscription in:
Greathead, D. J. 1999. A review of the Afrotropical species of Bombylella Greathead (1995) (Diptera: Bombyliidae). Journal of Natural History, 33(7), 999–1020. doi:10.1080/002229399300056

Black. Hair black and with pale yellow hair on the occiput, underside of head, thorax, forming a dense band across the mesonotum of the male in front of the wings and dorsal surface of the abdomen. Plumula white. Decumbent red- gold hair-like scales present beneath the hair on the dorsal surface, sparse in males and dense in females. Silver scale spots present on head and abdomen of males and also on thorax of females which have the full complement of spots and the submedian streaks, also a silvery-white patch on the katepisternum. The spots at the sides of abdominal terga 5 and 6 are large and composed of upright scales in both sexes. Abdominal sterna with well-developed bands of silvery-white scales. Legs dark brown and with silvery scales on the posterior sides. Wings with yellow basal infuscation to vein MA only. Veins yellow-brown, r-m cross-vein slightly before middle of discal cell, m-m absent. Alula distinctly longer than wide. Squamal fringe white. Haltere dark blackish brown, paler at apex of knob. Body length, 5-7 mm.

Distribution: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa (Kwa-Zulu-Natal, Northern Province), eSwatini, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

iNat observation:

Posted on February 08, 2024 05:28 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Phthiria laeta Bezzi, 1921

Genus Phthiria Meigen, 1803.
The Phthiriinae are readily separated from the similar looking Usiinae by the first antennal flagellomere, which in Phthiriinae has a subapical sulcus bearing a style and dorsal and/or ventral processes; also wing vein M2 is present (four posterior cells). Only the nominate genus, Phthiria, is present in Southern Africa.
Sexual dimorphism of adults is present and distinct: Males have holoptic eyes and are usually dark or black with infrequent pale coloration; females usually are paler with bands on the abdomen and/or vittae on the thorax or other distinct patterns.

Phthiria laeta Bezzi, 1921
While most Phthiria species occur in the Western and Northern Cape, this is the only Phthiria known from the NE parts of South Africa. Female easily identified by the black and yellowor pale banded abdomen and the reddish legs. Body on the whole less humped and broader than in other species.

Original description in:
Bezzi, M. 1921. On the bombyliid fauna of South Africa (Diptera) as represented in the South African Museum. Annals of the South African Museum 18

Head reddish, quite opaque; occiput broadly black in the middle; frons with a longitudinal, black, median stripe.
Antennae quite black, with the third long joint, about linear, ciliated above, with very short terminal style at its upper angle.
Thorax blackish and opaque on the back, with a fine dark grey tomentum and with whitish hairs; the humeri, a narrow stripe above the notopleural line, a broader stripe above the root of the wings and the postalar calluses yellow; the hairs are long and whitish. Scutellum yellow, with a very narrow basal black stripe.
Abdomen rather swollen and convex, quite opaque, clothed with whitish hairs; each segment is of a deep black colour, with a proportionally broad, equal and complete yellow stripe at the hind border; the second segment has the black part twice as broad as that of the following segments.
Legs reddish, with pale yellow coxae, infuscated tibiae, and blackish tarsi; anterior femora with a black longitudinal stripe on the outer side.
Wings greyish hyaline, with yellowish stigmae; veins black, with yellowish base; discal cross-vein placed at about the middle of the discoidal cell; cubital fork about three times as long as broad at end; anal cell briefly stalked.

Description of male in:
Hesse, A.J. 1975. Additions to the South African species of Phthirinnae and Usiinae (Diptera: Bombyliidae) with keys to all the known species. Annals of the South African Museum 66

Male: Body mainly black, only narrowish hind margins of sternites pallid; broadish hind margins of tergites on sides appearing greyish white, due to greyish white tomentum.

Distribution: Gauteng & KZN Drakensberg (Van Reenen)

iNat observation:

Posted on February 08, 2024 12:50 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 28, 2024

Anthrax candidulus Hesse, 1956

A black fly with disctinct wing pattern. Scaling almost entirely black, white scaling on abdomen above only conspicuous on sides of tergites 5, 6 and 7 in males and to a lesser extent in females; 4 small white tufts across hind margins of 2 and 3 and two sub-medial ones on 4 and 5.

Description and illustration of wing in:
Hesse, A.J. 1956. A revision of the Bombyliidae (Diptera) of southern Africa. Part II; Part III. Annals of the South African Museum 35.

iNat observation:

Posted on January 28, 2024 05:53 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 27, 2024

Spogostylum incisurale (Macquart, 1840)

Spogostylum spp are dull sandy coloured or greyish-brownish due to a mix of black and white hair and white and yellowish scales.

Wings hyaline or with indistinct yellow-brown tinge; with three (rarely two) blackish spots ( brownish in middle of first basal cell, on middle cross vein region and at base of fourth posterior cell respectively, often also with a less conspicuous or very faint infusion at base of third posterior cell, sometimes even with an obscure spot at base of first basal cell and another very faint one at base of upper cubital branch)
Origin of second longitudinal vein just opposite to the discal cross-vein; base of second vein and of upper cubital branch always provided with long stumps.
Scutellum brownish, with white margings.
Abdomen with narrow or less distinct yellow hind border on segments. Tufts of hairs on sides of abdomen alternating pale and dark.

Description by Loew (Anthrax mixtus):

Wing illustrated in Loew, fig 16:

Description by Hesse 1965 (Argyramoeba incisuralis):

Original description:
Palte 20, fig. 4:

Hosts: Most records for Spogostylum spp are as parasitoids of solitary bees and wasps nesting in soil, egg pods of Acrididae and their predators, and pupae of Lepidoptera and their parasitoids in soil. S. incisurale has been eared in South Africa from pupae of Loxostege frustalis and cocoons of its braconid parasitoid wasp Macrocentrus maraisi.

Distribution: Southern and eastern Africa as far north as Uganda (and further north). This is one of the most common species in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

iNat observation:

Posted on January 27, 2024 08:04 AM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 18, 2024

Exoprosopa praefica Loew, 1860

Scaling on abdomen above predominantly black and dense, only those transversely on sides of tergite 3 and numerous ones intermixed on sides of 6 and 7 white. Wings with a distinctive dark Litorhina-like pattern, consisting of a black infuscation, extending from base to level of submarginal cross vein, leaving the apex of wings clear, and with this infuscation divided in the middle by a clear indentation.

Description Hesse 1956:

Original description Loew 1860:

Wing illustrated in Loew, fig 27:

Distribution: South Africa, Zimbabwe

iNat observation:

Posted on January 18, 2024 03:35 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 17, 2024

Enica longirostris (Wiedemann, 1819)

An very distinctive fly of brownish colour with yellowish-white coloration on the head. The pile of the front, the sides of the thorax and scutellum and all tibiae and femora is decidedly bristly and black. The thorax above and the whole abdomen, is covered with matted, appressed pile, slightly scaliform, of mixed colours, pale brown and brownish white or yellow.
The wings are quite distinctive; the costal cell is yellowish and the remainder of the wing infuscated brown, though paler on the posterior half; it has 8 distinct and conspicuous pale whitish fenestrate spots centered about the crossveins and vein furcations, and each of considerable size. There are 3 submarginal cells and the marginal cell is divided into 3 cells by 2 extra crossveins. The second vein often arises as a crossvein with backward spur. The wing is narrow basally, the alula narrow.

The wing is illustrated in Hull 1973:

Description by Bezzi 1956:

Original description by Wiedemann (Anthrax longirostris):
Wiedemann, C.R.W. 1819. Beschreibung neuer Zweiflügler aus Ostindien und Afrika. Zoologisches Magazin 1(3)

Distribution: Western Cape, South Africa

iNat observations:

Posted on January 17, 2024 05:38 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 15, 2024

Petrorossia angustibasalis Hesse, 1956

Abdomen with central, discal, black band on abdomen above very broad, much broader than red on sides.
Legs predominantly yellowish.
Vestiture on face usually, or even entirely,
Fine scaling above gleaming brassy yellowish.
Wings with the infuscated brownish yellowish. Apex of wings (figure) from apex of costal cell more or less straight; alula and axillary lobe reduced, the wings thus also appearing pedunculate.

Distribution: Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal), Zimbabwe

iNat observation:

Posted on January 15, 2024 04:06 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 13, 2024

Exoprosopa apiformis Hesse, 1956

Abdomen bee-like with black and yellow rings, with the black and yellowish bands rather constant, without any white scaling on sides of tergites, and with only the last tergite distinctly white-scaled, and tergite 2 with a broadish basal band (very broad in females) of yellowish scales, the hinder half or hind part black-scaled; face and legs are dark; wings with the anterior infuscation usually faint, somewhat diffuse.

Original description by Hesse 1956:

Distribution: Eastern South Africa (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North-West Province)

Greathead recorded this species in Mkhuze from Vachellia leuderitzii low thicket, Vachellia nigrescens low open woodland and Terminalia sericea low open woodland.

iNat observation:

Posted on January 13, 2024 03:21 PM by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment