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Re: Tachnid fly chasing Bumble Bee

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  • 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 1 of 8 , May 14, 2007
      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 2 of 8 , May 14, 2007
        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 3 of 8 , May 15, 2007

          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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