Bombyliidae is a large family of flies with hundreds of genera, although their life cycles are not well known. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, thus are pollinators of flowers. They superficially resemble bees, thus are commonly called bee flies, and this may offer the adults some protection from predators.

The larval stages are predators or parasitoids of other insect eggs and larvae. The adult females usually deposit eggs in the vicinity of possible hosts, quite often in the burrows of beetles or wasps/solitary bees. Where most often in the insect world parasitoids are highly specific in the host species that they will infect, some bombyliids are opportunistic and will use a variety of hosts.

While bombyliids have a great variety of species, rarely are individuals of any one species abundant, and this is perhaps one of the poorest known families of insects relative to its size. There are at least 4,500 described species, and probably thousands as of yet undescribed.

Species include:

Major bee-fly (Bombylius major)
Williston's bee-fly (Poecilanthrax willistoni)
Alkali bee fly (Heterostylum robustum)



  • Hull, F.M. ,1973. Bee flies of the world. The genera of the family Bombyliidae.Washington (Smithsonian Institution Press) 687 pp. Keys subfamilies, genera (many generic placements superseded by Evenhuis & Greathead, 1999).
  • Evenhuis, N.L. 1991.Catalog of genus-group names of bee flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae) Bishop Museum Bulletin of Entomology5: 1–105.
  • Evenhuis, N.L. & Greathead, D.J. 1999. World catalog of bee flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae). Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, 756 pp.
  • Bowden, J.,1980 Family Bombyliidae. pp. 381–430. In R.W. Crosskey (ed.), Catalogue of the Diptera of the Afrotropical Region, 1437 pp., London: British Museum (Natural History)
  • Engel, E.O., 1932-1937. Bombyliidae. In: Die Fliegen der paläarktischen Region 4(3) (Erwin Lindner, ed.): 1-619, pl. 1-15. E. Schweizerbart, Stuttgart.). Old and outdated, not easy to get and expensive but some of the only keys to taxa in the Palaearctic Region.
  • Greathead & Evenhuis (Greathead, D.J., & N.L. Evenhuis, 1997. Family Bombyliidae. In: Contributions to a manual of Palaearctic Diptera Volume 2 (L. Papp & B. Darvas, eds.): 487-512. Science Herald, Budapest.) provide a key to the Palaearctic genera and (may) give references to available generic revisions.

External links

Search another word or see bombyliidaeon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature