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Every power of concentration must meet in vision to make out
a tiny gnat ogre (in the family of robber flies) watching for even tinier prey
at a narrow tip of milkweed.

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Ever seen a bumblebee impale another insect with its nose?

Me neither.

That’s why this scene upon a pokeweed leaf seemed so strange.

It turns out the perp in question isn’t a bee at all.

My investigation points to Laphria thoracica, the bee-like robber fly, a bumblebee mimic whose proboscis and saliva liquefy a prey’s innards for an easily drinkable meal.

I suppose curious behavior can have a reasonable explanation.

Though that’s little consolation for the prey.  Anyone happen to recognize it?

Simply sitting in the concrete and weeds … that’s its own reward.

Then along hums Bombylius major, the large or greater bee fly, hovering and darting over garlic mustard like a tiny hummingbird … or like a snowberry clearwing, the hummingbird moth featured here last summer.

But, just now, a bee fly sets itself down upon a shadow,

then resumes feeding at flowers.

IMG_3875 (2)IMG_3944 (2)IMG_3933 (2)Despite its long dangling legs and pointed proboscis, this little fly is said to mimic solitary bees (like carpenter and leafcutter bees) so that it can deposit eggs in their burrowing nests.

When its larvae hatch, they proceed to eat the bee larvae and any provisions left for them.

Such is the greater bee fly, simply being a bee fly, here in the concrete and weeds.

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