Description[change | change source]
The Bombyliidae are a large family of flies comprising hundreds of genera, but the life cycles of most species are known poorly, or not at all. They range in size from very small (2 mm in length) to very large for flies (wingspan of some 40 mm).
The Bombyliidae include a large number of species, but for its size this is one of the most poorly known families of insects. There are at least 4,500 described species, and certainly thousands yet to be described.
Bee mimics[change | change source]
Many Bombyliidae superficially look like bees and so a common name for the family is the bee flies. Probably the resemblance is aposematic, affording the adults some protection from predators. The adult females usually deposit eggs near the nests of possible hosts, often in the burrows of solitary bees, wasps or beetles.
The larval stages are predators or parasitoids of the eggs and larvae of other insects. The eggs hatch into larvae which eat the eggs and larvae of the 'host' insect. Although most bee-flies usually are fairly or highly host-specific, some species do attack a number of hosts.