Volucella bombylans var. bombylans the Bumble Bee Mimic

e6filmusere6filmuser e6filmuserPosts: 2,621Registered Users Major grins

Yesterday my wife drew my attention to a very shiny, mostly black "bumble bee" on a flower. It had reddish hairs on its rear end but a close look found the antennae to be short and fine.

This was clearly a hoverfly of the genus [i]Volucella[/i], with the typical face and the comb-like antennae. As it was spending a long time on one or two flowers, and tolerated my close approach, I was able to frame it for several shots but the gusting wind, moving the flowers on their slender stems, limited the usable images. It moved to a more sheltered leaf where I got more shots but not at the angles I would have preferred. Some of these images needed a bit more processing than normal.

I thought the fly had returned to the original flower but it was the bumble bee look-alike (a male [i]Bombus lapidarius[/i]). It moved onto bramble flowers, where it seemed to like facing away from me but I got one reasonable shot (last image). The orange fur on the front of the thorax makes it a male.

The stereos are crosseye.

Olympus EM-1 (aperture priority), Olympus 4/3 x2 TC, Olympus 4/3 50mm f2 macro, f10, ISO mostly 1600, hand-held.

“The female lays its eggs in the nests of bumblebees and wasps where the larvae feed on debris and occasionally the bee larvae”.



  • e6filmusere6filmuser e6filmuser Posts: 2,621Registered Users Major grins

    I thought it was new to me.

    On checking, I find that I have images of the other form var. [b]plumata[/b]. I saw it two years ago, almost to the day


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