Cutest Bee Flies in the World on Rabbitbrush & Curlycup Gumweed

/, Stansbury Mountains, Tooele County, Utah, West Desert, Wildflowers/Cutest Bee Flies in the World on Rabbitbrush & Curlycup Gumweed

I photographed some of the cutest, fuzzy Bee Flies in the world this week nectaring on Rabbitbrush and Curlycup Gumweed in the Stansbury Mountains of the West Desert.

Bee Fly nectaring on rabbitbrush - Possibly Bombyliinae - Anastoechus? Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahBee Fly nectaring on Rabbitbrush – Possibly Bombyliinae – Anastoechus? – Nikon D500, f10, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I submitted a few photos of the Bee Flies to BugGuide.net hoping for on ID on the Bee Flies I’ve photographed but so far all I know is that they belong to the subfamily Bombyliinae and they may belong to the Genus Anastoechus.

This Bee Fly was nectaring on rabbitbrush next to a road, I photographed it while photographing butterflies that were also nectaring on the rabbitbrush.

Bee Fly butt, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahBee Fly butt – Nikon D500, f10, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Even their fuzzy little butts are cute. I kind of see a little hedgehog face in the Bee Fly’s behind in this photo.

Curlycup Gumweed with a Bee Fly, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahCurlycup Gumweed with a Bee Fly – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

The Bee Flies are small, have six long, thin legs, two pairs of wings, big eyes, short antennae and long, stiff proboscises. Bee Flies aren’t bees so they do not sting, the adults feed on pollen and nectar and they are important as pollinators.

Bee Fly nectaring on Curlycup Gumweed, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahBee Fly nectaring on Curlycup Gumweed – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC,  natural light

As cute as these Bee Flies are I found out through my research on them that they hover over nests of ground nesting bees and deposit one egg into the burrow where the fly larva feeds on pollen and then the bee larvae itself. Go figure, a parasite as cute as a child’s stuffed animal!

Bee Fly on Curlycup Gumweed, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahBee Fly on Curlycup Gumweed – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I know that after I took these photos I wondered if it wasn’t time for me to start carrying my macro lens along when I go to the Stansbury Mountains or the West Desert to try to get macro shots of these cute little Bee Flies. Perhaps I should!

Curlycup Gumweed next to a road, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahCurlycup Gumweed next to a road – Nikon D810, f10, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 18-200mm VR  at 95mm, natural light

Curlycup Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa) is a new wildflower to my site so I thought I should go into more detail about it. This is a native plant that favors dry areas such as roadsides, dry prairies, rangelands, and abandoned croplands, it will also grow in moist soils that lack other vegetation. It stores selenium and can be toxic to domestic cattle, sheep and horses.  The plants grow from one to three feet tall, the one in the photograph above was perhaps about 2 1/2 feet tall. It is blooming like crazy in the West Desert this time of the year.

Even when there aren’t birds nearby it seem there is always something to photograph when I look around.

Nature is amazing…

Life is good.

Mia

10 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover September 18, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I really like the first image of the Bee Fly. This is new to me, a long-time insect watcher. Thanks Mia.

  2. Elephants Child September 15, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    The cutest little parasite of all.
    And yes, my greedy self says please carry your macro lens with you. This is a gorgeous series.

  3. Marty K September 15, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Very interesting! Being a dog person, I’m seeing a chihuahua mix in the bee butt with the wings standing in for the ears.

    • Marty K September 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Bee fly, not bee (darn you, autocorrect!)

  4. Trudy Brooks September 15, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    I agree with Cindy’s comment. Never heard of the bee fly, and they are cute. Thanks for showing them.

  5. Sybill Reed September 15, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Hi sweetie! Such cute little bugs! You sure get beautiful close ups! I so enjoy not knowing what you will photo next! love mom

  6. April Olson September 15, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Due to Haley’s entomology class this fall at the U I am looking more at insects. I saw this same fly for the first time a few weeks ago in Midway, Ut. They are adorable, hard to photograph with the macro, they flit around. I can ask her if she know what it is or she can ask her professor.

    • Mia McPherson September 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      April, I’d sure love to know so please!

  7. Cindy September 15, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Well wonders never cease! I have never heard of a bee fly but it does look like he’s made out of chenille, pipe cleaner. What a cute rear end he has. 🙂
    Thanks for making me smile today Mia.

  8. shoreacres September 15, 2018 at 5:46 am

    I first met curlycup gumweed in the Cimarron Grasslands in southwestern Kansas. It already had dried and gone to seed, but it still was beautiful. It’s nice to see it again, complete with blooms.

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