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Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee

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  • Richard Orr
    Hi everyone, Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen Bombus impatiens flying fast in a zigzag fashion over an open field. Hot on her heals (approximate
    Message 1 of 8 , May 13 7:24 AM
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      Hi everyone,

       

      Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen Bombus impatiens flying fast in a zigzag fashion over an open field.  Hot on her heals (approximate one meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I first thought was another bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her pursuer.  It was a fly that keys to Tachnidae.  The occurred in Frederick County, Maryland at Cunningham Falls State Park .  A photograph of the fly can be found at:

       

      http://www.marylandinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG

       

       

      The photo is well worth looking at – it is one impressive looking fly (about the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since Tachnids are parasitic flies, I am assuming that the strange flight behavior of the queen bumble bee was avoidance behavior.

       

      I would love to have the following questions answered – if possible.

       

      Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on Bombus?  It was the abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first caught my attention.

       

      What is the genus and/or species of the fly?  I can send additional photos at different angles if interested or I can send the specimen.

       

      What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the queen?  Lay eggs on her? Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just following her back to the nest?

       

      Any answers would be appreciated.

       

      I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.

       

      Thanks,

       

      Richard Orr

      Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies

      5215 Durham Rd - East

      Columbia, MD 21044

      odonata457@...

      www.marylandinsects.com

       

    • David Inouye
      Conopid flies are well studied as parasites of some European bumble bees (several papers by Schmid-Hempel), but I don t think I know of any published studies
      Message 2 of 8 , May 13 12:22 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        Conopid flies are well studied as parasites of some European bumble bees (several papers by Schmid-Hempel), but I don't think I know of any published studies about tachinids and bumble bees.

        David Inouye

        At 10:24 AM 5/13/2007, you wrote:

        Hi everyone,

         

        Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen Bombus impatiens flying fast in a zigzag fashion over an open field.  Hot on her heals (approximate one meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I first thought was another bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her pursuer.  It was a fly that keys to Tachnidae.  The occurred in Frederick County, Maryland at Cunningham Falls State Park.  A photograph of the fly can be found at:

         

        http://www.marylandinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG

         

         

        The photo is well worth looking at – it is one impressive looking fly (about the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since Tachnids are parasitic flies, I am assuming that the strange flight behavior of the queen bumble bee was avoidance behavior.

         

        I would love to have the following questions answered – if possible.

         

        Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on Bombus?  It was the abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first caught my attention.

         

        What is the genus and/or species of the fly?  I can send additional photos at different angles if interested or I can send the specimen.

         

        What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the queen?  Lay eggs on her? Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just following her back to the nest?

         

        Any answers would be appreciated.

         

        I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.

         

        Thanks,

         

        Richard Orr

        Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies

        5215 Durham Rd - East

        Columbia, MD 21044

        odonata457@...

        www.marylandinsects.com

         
      • Jack Neff
        Sarcophagid flies (which may key to Tachinidae) are known to parasitize Bombus nests (google Bombus and Sarcophagidae). The sarcophagids that attack solitary
        Message 3 of 8 , May 13 4:27 PM
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          Sarcophagid flies (which may key to Tachinidae) are
          known to parasitize Bombus nests (google Bombus and
          Sarcophagidae). The sarcophagids that attack solitary
          bees are well known to follow females back to their
          nests.

          best

          Jack Neff
          --- Richard Orr <odonata457@...> wrote:

          > Hi everyone,
          >
          >
          >
          > Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen
          > Bombus impatiens flying fast
          > in a zigzag fashion over an open field. Hot on her
          > heals (approximate one
          > meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I
          > first thought was another
          > bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her
          > pursuer. It was a fly
          > that keys to Tachnidae. The occurred in Frederick
          > County, Maryland at
          > Cunningham Falls State Park. A photograph of the
          > fly can be found at:
          >
          >
          >
          > http://www.marylandinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > The photo is well worth looking at - it is one
          > impressive looking fly (about
          > the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since
          > Tachnids are parasitic
          > flies, I am assuming that the strange flight
          > behavior of the queen bumble
          > bee was avoidance behavior.
          >
          >
          >
          > I would love to have the following questions
          > answered - if possible.
          >
          >
          >
          > Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on
          > Bombus? It was the
          > abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first
          > caught my attention.
          >
          >
          >
          > What is the genus and/or species of the fly? I can
          > send additional photos
          > at different angles if interested or I can send the
          > specimen.
          >
          >
          >
          > What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the
          > queen? Lay eggs on her?
          > Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just
          > following her back to the
          > nest?
          >
          >
          >
          > Any answers would be appreciated.
          >
          >
          >
          > I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.
          >
          >
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          >
          >
          > Richard Orr
          >
          > Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
          >
          > 5215 Durham Rd - East
          >
          > Columbia, MD 21044
          >
          > odonata457@...
          >
          > www.marylandinsects.com
          >
          >
          >
          >


          John L. Neff
          Central Texas Melittological Institute
          7307 Running Rope
          Austin,TX 78731 USA
          512-345-7219



          ____________________________________________________________________________________
          We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
          (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
          http://tv.yahoo.com/collections/265
        • Richard Orr
          Jeff, Thanks, for trying to hunt down a name for my fly. Much appreciated. I pretty much went the same web route as you did when I first collected the fly --
          Message 4 of 8 , May 13 7:00 PM
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            Jeff,

             

            Thanks, for trying to hunt down a name for my fly.  Much appreciated.

             

            I pretty much went the same web route as you did when I first collected the fly -- and I did my best to try and make it a sarcophagid based on the web information -- but the fly has a completely bare arista and a well developed postscutellum. So it is a Tachinid.

             

            The “A Host-Parasite Catalog of North American Tachinidae” (USDA, 1978) gives three records of Tachinid flies parasitic on Bombus.  For Bombus fervidus a record for Clausicella neomexicana and two records for Bombus species, Lespesia frenchii and a “Tachina” species record.  So Tachinids also have been known to parasitize bumble bees.

             

            Not specializing in Diptera (I am an odonate person) I have been unable to find any other sources of Tachinids parasitizing Bombus.  I tried to key the Tachinid but the only key I have to work from is Cole’s The Flies of Western North America which I crashed and burned on – there are 1277 described species of Tachinids in North America and according to one source it would probably be the largest family of flies in NA if the many undescribed species were included.  

             

            I am still hoping that someone out there can shed some light on my bee chaser just because of its connection to Bombus.

             

            Again, thanks for responding.

             

            Richard Orr

            Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies

            5215 Durham Rd - East

            Columbia, MD 21044

            odonata457@...

            www.marylandinsects.com


            From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Jack Neff
            Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 7:28 PM
            To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee

             

            Sarcophagid flies (which may key to Tachinidae) are
            known to parasitize Bombus nests (google Bombus and
            Sarcophagidae) . The sarcophagids that attack solitary
            bees are well known to follow females back to their
            nests.

            best

            Jack Neff
            --- Richard Orr <odonata457@comcast. net> wrote:

            > Hi everyone,
            >
            >
            >
            > Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen
            > Bombus impatiens flying fast
            > in a zigzag fashion over an open field. Hot on her
            > heals (approximate one
            > meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I
            > first thought was another
            > bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her
            > pursuer. It was a fly
            > that keys to Tachnidae. The occurred in
            w:st="on">Frederick
            > County ,
            w:st="on">Maryland at
            > Cunningham
            w:st="on">Falls State Park . A photograph of the
            > fly can be found at:
            >
            >
            >
            > http://www.maryland insects.com/ images/Tachinid. JPG
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > The photo is well worth looking at - it is one
            > impressive looking fly (about
            > the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since
            > Tachnids are parasitic
            > flies, I am assuming that the strange flight
            > behavior of the queen bumble
            > bee was avoidance behavior.
            >
            >
            >
            > I would love to have the following questions
            > answered - if possible.
            >
            >
            >
            > Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on
            > Bombus? It was the
            > abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first
            > caught my attention.
            >
            >
            >
            > What is the genus and/or species of the fly? I can
            > send additional photos
            > at different angles if interested or I can send the
            > specimen.
            >
            >
            >
            > What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the
            > queen? Lay eggs on her?
            > Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just
            > following her back to the
            > nest?
            >
            >
            >
            > Any answers would be appreciated.
            >
            >
            >
            > I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.
            >
            >
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            >
            >
            > Richard Orr
            >
            > Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
            >
            > 5215 Durham
            Rd - East
            >
            > Columbia ,
            w:st="on">MD 21044
            >
            > odonata457@comcast. net
            >
            > www.marylandinsects .com
            >
            >
            >
            >

            John L. Neff
            Central Texas Melittological Institute
            7307 Running Rope
            Austin , TX 78731 USA
            512-345-7219

            ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
            We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
            (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
            http://tv.yahoo. com/collections/ 265

          • Leo Shapiro
            Hi Richard, Your best chance of getting a name for your fly is to e-mail Norm Woodley at the USDA Systematic Entomology Lab/Smithsonian
            Message 5 of 8 , May 14 5:08 AM
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Richard,

              Your best chance of getting a name for your fly is to e-mail Norm Woodley at the USDA Systematic Entomology Lab/Smithsonian (Norman.Woodley@..., or old address nwoodley@...) .  He should be able to either ask you for the specimen and identify it himself (at least to genus, probably to species if it's described) or give you the name of the right person to contact. Another person you might try is James O'Hara at Agriculture Canada (oharaj@...).  Good luck...

              Leo Shapiro

              At 10:00 PM 5/13/2007, you wrote:

              Jeff,

               

              Thanks, for trying to hunt down a name for my fly.  Much appreciated.

               

              I pretty much went the same web route as you did when I first collected the fly -- and I did my best to try and make it a sarcophagid based on the web information -- but the fly has a completely bare arista and a well developed postscutellum. So it is a Tachinid.

               

              The “A Host-Parasite Catalog of North American Tachinidae” (USDA, 1978) gives three records of Tachinid flies parasitic on Bombus.  For Bombus fervidus a record for Clausicella neomexicana and two records for Bombus species, Lespesia frenchii and a “Tachina” species record.  So Tachinids also have been known to parasitize bumble bees.

               

              Not specializing in Diptera (I am an odonate person) I have been unable to find any other sources of Tachinids parasitizing Bombus.  I tried to key the Tachinid but the only key I have to work from is Cole’s The Flies of Western North America which I crashed and burned on – there are 1277 described species of Tachinids in North America and according to one source it would probably be the largest family of flies in NA if the many undescribed species were included. 

               

              I am still hoping that someone out there can shed some light on my bee chaser just because of its connection to Bombus.

               

              Again, thanks for responding.

               

              Richard Orr

              Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies

              5215 Durham Rd - East

              Columbia, MD 21044

              odonata457@...

              www.marylandinsects.com

              From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [ mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jack Neff
              Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 7:28 PM
              To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee

               

              Sarcophagid flies (which may key to Tachinidae) are
              known to parasitize Bombus nests (google Bombus and
              Sarcophagidae). The sarcophagids that attack solitary
              bees are well known to follow females back to their
              nests.

              best

              Jack Neff
              --- Richard Orr <odonata457@... > wrote:

              > Hi everyone,
              >
              >
              >
              > Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen
              > Bombus impatiens flying fast
              > in a zigzag fashion over an open field. Hot on her
              > heals (approximate one
              > meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I
              > first thought was another
              > bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her
              > pursuer. It was a fly
              > that keys to Tachnidae. The occurred in Frederick
              > County, Maryland at
              > Cunningham Falls State Park. A photograph of the
              > fly can be found at:
              >
              >
              >
              > http://www.marylandinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > The photo is well worth looking at - it is one
              > impressive looking fly (about
              > the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since
              > Tachnids are parasitic
              > flies, I am assuming that the strange flight
              > behavior of the queen bumble
              > bee was avoidance behavior.
              >
              >
              >
              > I would love to have the following questions
              > answered - if possible.
              >
              >
              >
              > Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on
              > Bombus? It was the
              > abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first
              > caught my attention.
              >
              >
              >
              > What is the genus and/or species of the fly? I can
              > send additional photos
              > at different angles if interested or I can send the
              > specimen.
              >
              >
              >
              > What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the
              > queen? Lay eggs on her?
              > Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just
              > following her back to the
              > nest?
              >
              >
              >
              > Any answers would be appreciated.
              >
              >
              >
              > I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.
              >
              >
              >
              > Thanks,
              >
              >
              >
              > Richard Orr
              >
              > Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
              >
              > 5215 Durham Rd - East
              >
              > Columbia, MD 21044
              >
              > odonata457@...
              >
              > www.marylandinsects.com
              >
              >
              >
              >

              John L. Neff
              Central Texas Melittological Institute
              7307 Running Rope
              Austin,TX 78731 USA
              512-345-7219

              __________________________________________________________
              We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
              (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
              http://tv.yahoo.com/collections/265

              -------------------------------------------------
              Leo Shapiro
              Department of Biology
              University of Maryland
              1210 Biology/Psychology Building
              College Park, MD 20742

              e-mail:  lshapiro@...
              phone:  (301) 405-0239

            • leifrichardson
              Richard, I was watching a nesting aggregation of Colletes (inequalis is the species, I think) this morning, and spotted a small fly hanging around. The bees
              Message 6 of 8 , May 14 12:16 PM
              • 0 Attachment
                Richard,
                I was watching a nesting aggregation of Colletes (inequalis is the
                species, I think) this morning, and spotted a small fly hanging
                around. The bees were coming and going with a lot of side-to-side
                flight before diving into their nests. When one bee landed on the
                sand in front of the nest entrance, then entered, this little fly
                hopped off of its pine needle perch and raced across the ground,
                following the bee into her nest. I caught them both when they
                emerged, and would also like an ID for this fly. There were also
                parasitic bees around-- Nomada-- and I imagine this is just the tip
                of the iceberg in terms of what the nest-provisioning bee has to deal
                with while trying to get to and from the flowers without attracting
                enemies.

                Leif Richardson
                Ecologist
                Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program
                Department of Fish and Wildlife
                5 Perry Street, Suite 40
                Barre, VT 05641
                (802) 476-0128

                --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, Leo Shapiro <lshapiro@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > Hi Richard,
                >
                > Your best chance of getting a name for your fly
                > is to e-mail Norm Woodley at the USDA Systematic
                > Entomology Lab/Smithsonian
                > (Norman.Woodley@..., or old address
                > nwoodley@...) . He should be able
                > to either ask you for the specimen and identify
                > it himself (at least to genus, probably to
                > species if it's described) or give you the name
                > of the right person to contact. Another person
                > you might try is James O'Hara at Agriculture
                > Canada (oharaj@...). Good luck...
                >
                > Leo Shapiro
                >
                > At 10:00 PM 5/13/2007, you wrote:
                >
                > >Jeff,
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >Thanks, for trying to hunt down a name for my fly. Much
                appreciated.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >I pretty much went the same web route as you did
                > >when I first collected the fly -- and I did my
                > >best to try and make it a sarcophagid based on
                > >the web information -- but the fly has a
                > >completely bare arista and a well developed postscutellum. So it
                is a Tachinid.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >The "A Host-Parasite Catalog of North American
                > >Tachinidae" (USDA, 1978) gives three records of
                > >Tachinid flies parasitic on Bombus. For Bombus
                > >fervidus a record for Clausicella neomexicana
                > >and two records for Bombus species, Lespesia
                > >frenchii and a "Tachina" species record. So
                > >Tachinids also have been known to parasitize bumble bees.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >Not specializing in Diptera (I am an odonate
                > >person) I have been unable to find any other
                > >sources of Tachinids parasitizing Bombus. I
                > >tried to key the Tachinid but the only key I
                > >have to work from is Cole's The Flies of Western
                > >North America which I crashed and burned on –
                > >there are 1277 described species of Tachinids in
                > >North America and according to one source it
                > >would probably be the largest family of flies in
                > >NA if the many undescribed species were included.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >I am still hoping that someone out there can
                > >shed some light on my bee chaser just because of its connection to
                Bombus.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >Again, thanks for responding.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >Richard Orr
                > >
                > >Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
                > >
                > >5215 Durham Rd - East
                > >
                > >Columbia, MD 21044
                > >
                > ><mailto:odonata457@...>odonata457@...
                > >
                > >www.marylandinsects.com
                > >
                > >----------
                > >From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                > >[mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jack Neff
                > >Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 7:28 PM
                > >To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                > >Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >Sarcophagid flies (which may key to Tachinidae) are
                > >known to parasitize Bombus nests (google Bombus and
                > >Sarcophagidae). The sarcophagids that attack solitary
                > >bees are well known to follow females back to their
                > >nests.
                > >
                > >best
                > >
                > >Jack Neff
                > >--- Richard Orr
                > ><<mailto:odonata457%40comcast.net>odonata457@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > > Hi everyone,
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen
                > > > Bombus impatiens flying fast
                > > > in a zigzag fashion over an open field. Hot on her
                > > > heals (approximate one
                > > > meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I
                > > > first thought was another
                > > > bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her
                > > > pursuer. It was a fly
                > > > that keys to Tachnidae. The occurred in Frederick
                > > > County, Maryland at
                > > > Cunningham Falls State Park. A photograph of the
                > > > fly can be found at:
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > >
                <http://www.marylandinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG>http://www.marylan
                dinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > The photo is well worth looking at - it is one
                > > > impressive looking fly (about
                > > > the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since
                > > > Tachnids are parasitic
                > > > flies, I am assuming that the strange flight
                > > > behavior of the queen bumble
                > > > bee was avoidance behavior.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > I would love to have the following questions
                > > > answered - if possible.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on
                > > > Bombus? It was the
                > > > abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first
                > > > caught my attention.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > What is the genus and/or species of the fly? I can
                > > > send additional photos
                > > > at different angles if interested or I can send the
                > > > specimen.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the
                > > > queen? Lay eggs on her?
                > > > Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just
                > > > following her back to the
                > > > nest?
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Any answers would be appreciated.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Thanks,
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Richard Orr
                > > >
                > > > Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
                > > >
                > > > 5215 Durham Rd - East
                > > >
                > > > Columbia, MD 21044
                > > >
                > > > <mailto:odonata457%40comcast.net>odonata457@...
                > > >
                > > > www.marylandinsects.com
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > >
                > >John L. Neff
                > >Central Texas Melittological Institute
                > >7307 Running Rope
                > >Austin,TX 78731 USA
                > >512-345-7219
                > >
                > >__________________________________________________________
                > >We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
                > >(and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
                >
                ><http://tv.yahoo.com/collections/265>http://tv.yahoo.com/collections/
                265
                > >
                > >
                >
                > -------------------------------------------------
                > Leo Shapiro
                > Department of Biology
                > University of Maryland
                > 1210 Biology/Psychology Building
                > College Park, MD 20742
                >
                > e-mail: lshapiro@...
                > phone: (301) 405-0239
                >
              • Jerry_Freilich@nps.gov
                These postings on the following flies are all very interesting, but I m surprised that the concept is generating the sort of novelty it is. In the world of
                Message 7 of 8 , May 14 1:14 PM
                • 0 Attachment
                  These postings on the "following" flies are all very interesting, but I'm
                  surprised that the concept is generating the sort of novelty it is. In the
                  world of sphecid wasps, such "satellite flies" are well known and I thought
                  that there is a fairly good literature on them. I suggest using "satellite
                  flies" as a search term and see if you don't find a fair number of such
                  references.

                  JF
                  __________________________
                  Jerry Freilich, Ph.D.
                  Research Coordinator, Olympic National Park
                  Coordinator, North Coast & Cascades Research Learning Network
                  Olympic National Park
                  600 E. Park Ave.
                  Port Angeles, WA 98362

                  Phone: 360-565-3082
                  Fax: 360-565-3070
                  Cell: 360-477-3338
                  Jerry_Freilich@...

                  "This is the most beautiful place on earth,
                  there are many such places..."
                  Edward Abbey
                  ___________________________



                  "leifrichardson"
                  <Leif.Richardson@s To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                  tate.vt.us> cc: (bcc: Jerry Freilich/OLYM/NPS)
                  Sent by: Subject: [beemonitoring] Re: Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee
                  beemonitoring@yaho
                  ogroups.com


                  05/14/2007 07:16
                  PM GMT
                  Please respond to
                  beemonitoring





                  Richard,
                  I was watching a nesting aggregation of Colletes (inequalis is the
                  species, I think) this morning, and spotted a small fly hanging
                  around. The bees were coming and going with a lot of side-to-side
                  flight before diving into their nests. When one bee landed on the
                  sand in front of the nest entrance, then entered, this little fly
                  hopped off of its pine needle perch and raced across the ground,
                  following the bee into her nest. I caught them both when they
                  emerged, and would also like an ID for this fly. There were also
                  parasitic bees around-- Nomada-- and I imagine this is just the tip
                  of the iceberg in terms of what the nest-provisioning bee has to deal
                  with while trying to get to and from the flowers without attracting
                  enemies.

                  Leif Richardson
                  Ecologist
                  Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program
                  Department of Fish and Wildlife
                  5 Perry Street, Suite 40
                  Barre, VT 05641
                  (802) 476-0128

                  --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, Leo Shapiro <lshapiro@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Richard,
                  >
                  > Your best chance of getting a name for your fly
                  > is to e-mail Norm Woodley at the USDA Systematic
                  > Entomology Lab/Smithsonian
                  > (Norman.Woodley@..., or old address
                  > nwoodley@...) . He should be able
                  > to either ask you for the specimen and identify
                  > it himself (at least to genus, probably to
                  > species if it's described) or give you the name
                  > of the right person to contact. Another person
                  > you might try is James O'Hara at Agriculture
                  > Canada (oharaj@...). Good luck...
                  >
                  > Leo Shapiro
                  >
                  > At 10:00 PM 5/13/2007, you wrote:
                  >
                  > >Jeff,
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >Thanks, for trying to hunt down a name for my fly. Much
                  appreciated.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >I pretty much went the same web route as you did
                  > >when I first collected the fly -- and I did my
                  > >best to try and make it a sarcophagid based on
                  > >the web information -- but the fly has a
                  > >completely bare arista and a well developed postscutellum. So it
                  is a Tachinid.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >The "A Host-Parasite Catalog of North American
                  > >Tachinidae" (USDA, 1978) gives three records of
                  > >Tachinid flies parasitic on Bombus. For Bombus
                  > >fervidus a record for Clausicella neomexicana
                  > >and two records for Bombus species, Lespesia
                  > >frenchii and a "Tachina" species record. So
                  > >Tachinids also have been known to parasitize bumble bees.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >Not specializing in Diptera (I am an odonate
                  > >person) I have been unable to find any other
                  > >sources of Tachinids parasitizing Bombus. I
                  > >tried to key the Tachinid but the only key I
                  > >have to work from is Cole's The Flies of Western
                  > >North America which I crashed and burned on –
                  > >there are 1277 described species of Tachinids in
                  > >North America and according to one source it
                  > >would probably be the largest family of flies in
                  > >NA if the many undescribed species were included.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >I am still hoping that someone out there can
                  > >shed some light on my bee chaser just because of its connection to
                  Bombus.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >Again, thanks for responding.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >Richard Orr
                  > >
                  > >Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
                  > >
                  > >5215 Durham Rd - East
                  > >
                  > >Columbia, MD 21044
                  > >
                  > ><mailto:odonata457@...>odonata457@...
                  > >
                  > >www.marylandinsects.com
                  > >
                  > >----------
                  > >From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                  > >[mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jack Neff
                  > >Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 7:28 PM
                  > >To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                  > >Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >Sarcophagid flies (which may key to Tachinidae) are
                  > >known to parasitize Bombus nests (google Bombus and
                  > >Sarcophagidae). The sarcophagids that attack solitary
                  > >bees are well known to follow females back to their
                  > >nests.
                  > >
                  > >best
                  > >
                  > >Jack Neff
                  > >--- Richard Orr
                  > ><<mailto:odonata457%40comcast.net>odonata457@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > > Hi everyone,
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen
                  > > > Bombus impatiens flying fast
                  > > > in a zigzag fashion over an open field. Hot on her
                  > > > heals (approximate one
                  > > > meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I
                  > > > first thought was another
                  > > > bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her
                  > > > pursuer. It was a fly
                  > > > that keys to Tachnidae. The occurred in Frederick
                  > > > County, Maryland at
                  > > > Cunningham Falls State Park. A photograph of the
                  > > > fly can be found at:
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  <http://www.marylandinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG>http://www.marylan
                  dinsects.com/images/Tachinid.JPG
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > The photo is well worth looking at - it is one
                  > > > impressive looking fly (about
                  > > > the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since
                  > > > Tachnids are parasitic
                  > > > flies, I am assuming that the strange flight
                  > > > behavior of the queen bumble
                  > > > bee was avoidance behavior.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > I would love to have the following questions
                  > > > answered - if possible.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on
                  > > > Bombus? It was the
                  > > > abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first
                  > > > caught my attention.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > What is the genus and/or species of the fly? I can
                  > > > send additional photos
                  > > > at different angles if interested or I can send the
                  > > > specimen.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the
                  > > > queen? Lay eggs on her?
                  > > > Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just
                  > > > following her back to the
                  > > > nest?
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Any answers would be appreciated.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Thanks,
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Richard Orr
                  > > >
                  > > > Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
                  > > >
                  > > > 5215 Durham Rd - East
                  > > >
                  > > > Columbia, MD 21044
                  > > >
                  > > > <mailto:odonata457%40comcast.net>odonata457@...
                  > > >
                  > > > www.marylandinsects.com
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > >John L. Neff
                  > >Central Texas Melittological Institute
                  > >7307 Running Rope
                  > >Austin,TX 78731 USA
                  > >512-345-7219
                  > >
                  > >__________________________________________________________
                  > >We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
                  > >(and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
                  >
                  ><http://tv.yahoo.com/collections/265>http://tv.yahoo.com/collections/
                  265
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > -------------------------------------------------
                  > Leo Shapiro
                  > Department of Biology
                  > University of Maryland
                  > 1210 Biology/Psychology Building
                  > College Park, MD 20742
                  >
                  > e-mail: lshapiro@...
                  > phone: (301) 405-0239
                  >
                • Richard Orr
                  Leo and the beemonitoring group, Norm Woodley identified the fly as a Tachnid belonging to the genus Gonia. Norm went on to state that the genus has not
                  Message 8 of 8 , May 15 1:39 PM
                  • 0 Attachment

                    Leo and the beemonitoring group,

                     

                    Norm Woodley identified the fly as a Tachnid belonging to the genus Gonia.  Norm went on to state that the genus has not received any taxonomic research since the 1920s and that species identifications are very problematic.

                     

                    This still leaves me with a very big mystery and one that probably can not resolved at this time.  Known host records for Gonia species are Lepidoptera, but then again most of the records are from a single old world species.  I was about to give up trying to find a Bumble Bee/Gonia species connection when I found a strange statement in Cole’s “The Flies of Western North America” on page 574 which reads “As stated by Townsend, it would be impossible for any of the Gonia group to parasitize bumblebees – or any bees, despite the record for Reaumuria (part of the Gonia complex) by Wahlberg.  Neither the bees nor their larvae could swallow the egg of the parasite fly on foliage; possibly a parasitized caterpillar crawled into the nest of the bee.” 

                     

                    This indicates to me that Wahlberg did find a Bumble Bee/Gonia species connection.  Unfortunately, no reference to Wahlberg was listed in Cole’s literature cited.

                     

                    If I didn’t like mysteries I would have become an ornithologist (don’t tell by birder friends I said that).  Anyway, it is unlikely that I will find out why the fly was chasing the Bumble Bee and why the Bumble Bee was so intent on getting away.  So I will add it to my list of natural history mysteries and move on.

                     

                    Many thanks to all those on the beemonitoring group for your help.

                     

                    Richard Orr

                    Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies

                    5215 Durham Rd - East

                    Columbia, MD 21044

                    odonata457@...

                    www.marylandinsects.com


                    From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Leo Shapiro
                    Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 8:09 AM
                    To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee

                     

                    Hi Richard,

                    Your best chance of getting a name for your fly is to e-mail Norm Woodley at the USDA Systematic Entomology Lab/Smithsonian ( Norman. Woodley@ ARS.USDA. GOV , or old address nwoodley@sel. barc.usda. gov ) .  He should be able to either ask you for the specimen and identify it himself (at least to genus, probably to species if it's described) or give you the name of the right person to contact. Another person you might try is James O'Hara at Agriculture Canada (oharaj@agr. gc.ca).  Good luck...

                    Leo Shapiro

                    At 10:00 PM 5/13/2007, you wrote:

                    Jeff,

                     

                    Thanks, for trying to hunt down a name for my fly.  Much appreciated.

                     

                    I pretty much went the same web route as you did when I first collected the fly -- and I did my best to try and make it a sarcophagid based on the web information -- but the fly has a completely bare arista and a well developed postscutellum. So it is a Tachinid.

                     

                    The “A Host-Parasite Catalog of North American Tachinidae” (USDA, 1978) gives three records of Tachinid flies parasitic on Bombus.  For Bombus fervidus a record for Clausicella neomexicana and two records for Bombus species, Lespesia frenchii and a “Tachina” species record.  So Tachinids also have been known to parasitize bumble bees.

                     

                    Not specializing in Diptera (I am an odonate person) I have been unable to find any other sources of Tachinids parasitizing Bombus.  I tried to key the Tachinid but the only key I have to work from is Cole’s The Flies of Western North America which I crashed and burned on – there are 1277 described species of Tachinids in North America and according to one source it would probably be the largest family of flies in NA if the many undescribed species were included. 

                     

                    I am still hoping that someone out there can shed some light on my bee chaser just because of its connection to Bombus.

                     

                    Again, thanks for responding.

                     

                    Richard Orr

                    Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies

                    5215 Durham Rd - East

                    Columbia, MD 21044

                    odonata457@comcast. net

                    www.marylandinsects .com


                    From: beemonitoring@ yahoogroups. com [ mailto:beemonitorin g@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Jack Neff
                    Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 7:28 PM
                    To: beemonitoring@ yahoogroups. com
                    Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee

                     

                    Sarcophagid flies (which may key to Tachinidae) are
                    known to parasitize Bombus nests (google Bombus and
                    Sarcophagidae) . The sarcophagids that attack solitary
                    bees are well known to follow females back to their
                    nests.

                    best

                    Jack Neff
                    --- Richard Orr <odonata457@comcast. net > wrote:

                    > Hi everyone,
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Earlier this month (May 6th) I noticed a queen
                    > Bombus impatiens flying fast
                    > in a zigzag fashion over an open field. Hot on her
                    > heals (approximate one
                    > meter or closer) was a much smaller insect that I
                    > first thought was another
                    > bee. I netted (collected) both the Bombus and her
                    > pursuer. It was a fly
                    > that keys to Tachnidae. The occurred in Frederick
                    > County , Maryland at
                    > Cunningham Falls State Park . A photograph of the
                    > fly can be found at:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > http://www.maryland insects.com/ images/Tachinid. JPG
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > The photo is well worth looking at - it is one
                    > impressive looking fly (about
                    > the size of a house fly or slightly larger). Since
                    > Tachnids are parasitic
                    > flies, I am assuming that the strange flight
                    > behavior of the queen bumble
                    > bee was avoidance behavior.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > I would love to have the following questions
                    > answered - if possible.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Is avoidance behavior reported in the literature on
                    > Bombus? It was the
                    > abnormal way the bumble bee was flying that first
                    > caught my attention.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > What is the genus and/or species of the fly? I can
                    > send additional photos
                    > at different angles if interested or I can send the
                    > specimen.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > What was the fly going to do if he caught up to the
                    > queen? Lay eggs on her?
                    > Ride her back to the nest? Or was the fly just
                    > following her back to the
                    > nest?
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Any answers would be appreciated.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > I hope all of you are enjoying the spring.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Thanks,
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Richard Orr
                    >
                    > Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies
                    >
                    > 5215 Durham Rd - East
                    >
                    > Columbia , MD 21044
                    >
                    > odonata457@comcast. net
                    >
                    > www.marylandinsects .com
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >

                    John L. Neff
                    Central Texas Melittological Institute
                    7307 Running Rope
                    Austin , TX 78731 USA
                    512-345-7219

                    ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
                    We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
                    (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
                    http://tv.yahoo. com/collections/ 265

                    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- -
                    Leo Shapiro
                    Department of Biology
                    University of Maryland
                    1210 Biology/Psychology Building
                    College Park , MD 20742

                    e-mail:  lshapiro@umd. edu
                    phone:  (301) 405-0239

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