Bombyliidae (Bee Flies) - Southern Africa's Journal

18 June, 2024

Heteralonia subgenera

Compiled from
Bowden 1975: Studies in African Bombyliidae.
Greathead, D.J. & Evenhuis, N.L. (2001) Annotated keys to the genera of African Bombylioidea (Diptera: Bombyliidae; Mythicomyiidae). African Invertebrates 42: 105-224.


Heleralonia s. str.
With four submarginal cells in wing (cell r2+3 divided by a crossvein); wing pattern with eye-like spots on crossveins.

Only 1 species in Southern Africa: H. kaokoensis Hesse 1956 (Namibia)


Mesoclis Bezzi
Type species Anthrax pygmalion
'With five posterior cells (cell m1 divided into two by a crossvein), the third closed and stalked; antennal style short, less than half length of third segment; front legs slender and elongate, wing almost completely infuscated; body narrow, parallel sided.
Does not occur in Southern Africa.


Metapenta Bezzi
Type species Exoprosopa pentala Macquart,
With five posterior cells (cell m2 divided into two by appendix), the additional cell being closed and cut off at base of third posterior cell; antennal style short, not more than about half length of third segment; front legs slender, feebly spiculate tibiae.


Recorded from Southern Africa:
H. atrella Hesse, 1956 Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe.
H. cadicerina Bezzi, 1924 South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal).
H. cingulalis Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape).
H. corvina Loew, 1860 Malawi, Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal), Zimbabwe.
H. dubia Ricardo, 1901 South Africa (Gauteng), Zimbabwe.
H. furvipennis Hesse, 1956 Namibia.
H. melanostola Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Northern Province).
H. pentala Macquart, 1840 Mozambique, South Africa (Western Cape).
H. venosa Wiedemann, 1819 South Africa (Free State, Western Cape).


Acrodisca Bezzi
Type species Exoprosopa angulata Loew 1860,
With three submarginal and four posterior cells (cell m1 not divided into two by a crossvein), vein between discal and third posterior cells sharply angled, with or without an appendix into third posterior cell; antennal style short to rudimentary; front legs usually stout, relatively short, the tibiae spiculate; wing usually not almost completely infuscated and with pigment concentrated as spots or along borders of veins; body broad rounded.







Recorded from Southern Africa:
H. acrodiscoides Bezzi, 1921 Namibia
H. angulata Loew, 1860 Mozambique, South Africa (Western Cape).
H. aridicola Hesse, 1956 Botswana, Namibia, South Africa (Northern Cape).
H. eremochara Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape).
H. fimbriatella Bezzi, 1921 South Africa (North-West Province).
H. fumida Greathead, 2000 South Africa (North-West Province).
H. furvalis Hesse, 1956 South Africa (?Gauteng, Northern Cape, Northern Province).
H. gonioneura Hesse, 1956 Botswana, Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape), Uganda.
H. hamula Hesse, 1956South Africa (Western Cape)
H. hemiphaea Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Gauteng, Northern Province).
H. nephoneura Hesse, 1950 Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga).
H. obscuripennis Hesse, 1956 Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape).
H. offuscata Bezzi, 1921 Namibia, South Africa (Northern Cape & Western Cape)
H. personata Bezzi, 1921 Malawi, South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape), Zimbabwe.
H. polysticta Hesse, 1956 Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape).
H. recurrens Loew, 1860 South Africa (Eastern Cape).
H. rubella Bezzi, 1924 Kenya, Somalia, South Africa (Mpumalanga, Northern Province), Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
H. spoliata Bezzi, 1922 South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal). https://www.pindip.org/heteralonia-spoliata
H. umbrosa Loew, 1860 Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga), Tanzania, Zimbabwe.
H. zonata Hesse, 1936 Botswana, Namibia, South Africa (Northern Province).


Homolonia Bowden
Type species Anthrax megerlei Meigen (= Exoprosapa consanguinea Macquart; = Exoprosopa campar Bezzi).
With three submarginal and four posterior cells, cross vein m1 - m2 long, sinuous, more or less parallel to wing margin; discal ce!l long, narrow, not notably expanded apically, vein between it and third posterior cell long, sinuous but not angled or appendiculate; wing-pattern uniform in density, extensive but often with a clear spot or indention over the middle of the discal cell; scaling on abdomen uniform in colour or with a bold division into areas of different colour.



Recorded from Southern Africa:
H. caffrariana Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Eastern Cape).
H. campestris Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Western Cape).
H. capensis Wiedemann, 1821 Namibia, South Africa (Western Cape).
H. connivens Bezzi, 1924 South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape).
H corvinoides Hesse, 1956 Namibia, South Africa (Western Cape).
H. cosmoptera Bezzi, 1924 Malawi, Namibia.
H. guillarmodi Hesse, 1956 Lesotho, South Africa (Eastern Cape, North-West Province).
H. karooana Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape).
H. leucothyrida Hesse, 1956 Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape, Western Cape).
H. maculifera Bezzi, 1921 South Africa (Eastern Cape).
H. maculosa Wiedemann, 1819 South Africa (Eastern Cape, Western Cape).
H. neurospila Bezzi, 1921 South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal).
H. nigrovenosa Bezzi, 1921 South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal), eSwatini.
H. plerosticta Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Western Cape).
H. porrectella Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Eastern Cape, Western Cape).


Zygodipla Bezzi
Type species: Anthrax algira Fabricius, 1794
Cell r5 divided by a crossvein or closed and with a long stalk; vestiture usually composed predominantly of pale, sandy-coloured hair and scales; wing-pattern diffuse, usually pale and with paler borders to veins or small, darker spots on crossveins, often paler at base and with a darker diagonal middle band before a hyaline apical band; if wing vein characters not present, then vestiture and wing.pattern are as described
Only 1 species in Southern Africa: H. mira Greathead 2001 (Namibia)


Isotamia Bezzi (= Stenolonia Bowden)
Type species: Isotamia daveyi Bezzi, 1912
With three submarginal and four posterior cells; cross vein m1 m2 short, straight or only slightly sinuous, oblique to wing margin; discal cell very long and narrow; anal lobe narrow, not wider than empusal cell, alula reduced, wing (hus appearing pedunculate; antennal style short, not more than half length of third segment; front legs stout, the tibiae spiculate;
Proboscis usually projecting, sometimes by more than the length of the head; anal area narrow and alula reduced so that wing appears petiolate; wing with anterior infuscation sharply marked off from hind part which is tinged brownish; abdomen tending to have a fringe of dense scales at sides.


Recorded from Southern Africa:
H. ceuthodonta Hesse, 1936 Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania
H. loxospila Hesse, 1956 South Africa (Eastern Cape, Gauteng).

Posted on 18 June, 2024 13:29 by traianbertau traianbertau | 2 comments | Leave a comment

16 February, 2024

Exoprosopa strenua Loew, 1860

Large species with distinctive wing pattern: Base and band of wings black-brown, lower base and edge anteriorly more rusty, a wide clear incision between the base and the band ascending diagonally from the posterior margin, veins in the gray tip of the wings edged with whitish.

Description & illustration in:
Loew, H. 1860. Die Dipteren–Fauna Südafrika's. Erste Abtheilung. Abhandlungen des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins für Sachsen und Thüringen
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/35325#page/246/mode/1up

Description in Hesse 1956:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40844208#page/826/mode/1up

Type locality: South Africa, Western Cape

iNat observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&taxon_id=666332

Posted on 16 February, 2024 00:47 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

14 February, 2024

Euligyra coleoptrata (Bezzi, 1921)

A black-golden fly with dark brown wings: Scaling on thorax and base of scutellum mostly black, not yellowish ochreous or rufous, and black scaling on abdomen above very extensive, leaving only the scales on reddish parts on sides reddish yellowish. Wings distinctly dark bronzy brownish, the infuscation uniform, with violaceous reflections, with the darker spot-like infuscations on cross veins very feebly indicated.

Original description in:
Bezzi, M. 1921. On the bombyliid fauna of South Africa (Diptera) as represented in the South African Museum. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 18
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/1540304#page/180/mode/1up

Redescription in Hesse 1956:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40844208#page/945/mode/1up

Distribution: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

iNat observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/173755224
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/9172015

Posted on 14 February, 2024 17:45 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

08 February, 2024

Bombylella rufiventris (Macquart 1846)

This species is easily recognised by the whitish hair on the thorax in front in males, the presence of reddish or reddish yellow, depressed scaling on scutellum and disc of abdomen above, especially in females and the black hair tufts on the side of the abdomen.

Original description in:
Macquart, P.J.M. 1846. Diptères exotiques nouveaux ou peu connus. Supplement. [1]. Mem. Soc. R. Sci. Agric. Arts, Lille 1844
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/109525#page/118/mode/1up

Translated from Latin & French:
Red hairy. The apex of the abdomen is black, with white dorsal spots.
Face and fron black; a tuft of white hairs on each side of the face and on the posterior edge of the vertex. Antennae black. Thorax with patch of white hair on the shoulders. Abdomen with reddish scales; tufts of black hair on the sides. Legs black. Wings clear; a little yellowish at the base and outer edge; small cross vein located at one third of the discoidal cell; anal cell half-open.

Rediscription in:
Greathead, D. J. 1999. A review of the Afrotropical species of Bombylella Greathead (1995) (Diptera: Bombyliidae). Journal of Natural History, 33(7), 999–1020. doi:10.1080/002229399300056
https://sci-hub.ee/10.1080/002229399300056

Black. Hair black and with pale yellow hair on the occiput, underside of head, thorax, forming a dense band across the mesonotum of the male in front of the wings and dorsal surface of the abdomen. Plumula white. Decumbent red- gold hair-like scales present beneath the hair on the dorsal surface, sparse in males and dense in females. Silver scale spots present on head and abdomen of males and also on thorax of females which have the full complement of spots and the submedian streaks, also a silvery-white patch on the katepisternum. The spots at the sides of abdominal terga 5 and 6 are large and composed of upright scales in both sexes. Abdominal sterna with well-developed bands of silvery-white scales. Legs dark brown and with silvery scales on the posterior sides. Wings with yellow basal infuscation to vein MA only. Veins yellow-brown, r-m cross-vein slightly before middle of discal cell, m-m absent. Alula distinctly longer than wide. Squamal fringe white. Haltere dark blackish brown, paler at apex of knob. Body length, 5-7 mm.

Distribution: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa (Kwa-Zulu-Natal, Northern Province), eSwatini, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

iNat observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/78219679

Posted on 08 February, 2024 17:28 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Phthiria laeta Bezzi, 1921

Genus Phthiria Meigen, 1803.
The Phthiriinae are readily separated from the similar looking Usiinae by the first antennal flagellomere, which in Phthiriinae has a subapical sulcus bearing a style and dorsal and/or ventral processes; also wing vein M2 is present (four posterior cells). Only the nominate genus, Phthiria, is present in Southern Africa.
Sexual dimorphism of adults is present and distinct: Males have holoptic eyes and are usually dark or black with infrequent pale coloration; females usually are paler with bands on the abdomen and/or vittae on the thorax or other distinct patterns.


Phthiria laeta Bezzi, 1921
While most Phthiria species occur in the Western and Northern Cape, this is the only Phthiria known from the NE parts of South Africa. Female easily identified by the black and yellowor pale banded abdomen and the reddish legs. Body on the whole less humped and broader than in other species.

Original description in:
Bezzi, M. 1921. On the bombyliid fauna of South Africa (Diptera) as represented in the South African Museum. Annals of the South African Museum 18
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/1540304#page/112/mode/1up

Female:
Head reddish, quite opaque; occiput broadly black in the middle; frons with a longitudinal, black, median stripe.
Antennae quite black, with the third long joint, about linear, ciliated above, with very short terminal style at its upper angle.
Thorax blackish and opaque on the back, with a fine dark grey tomentum and with whitish hairs; the humeri, a narrow stripe above the notopleural line, a broader stripe above the root of the wings and the postalar calluses yellow; the hairs are long and whitish. Scutellum yellow, with a very narrow basal black stripe.
Abdomen rather swollen and convex, quite opaque, clothed with whitish hairs; each segment is of a deep black colour, with a proportionally broad, equal and complete yellow stripe at the hind border; the second segment has the black part twice as broad as that of the following segments.
Legs reddish, with pale yellow coxae, infuscated tibiae, and blackish tarsi; anterior femora with a black longitudinal stripe on the outer side.
Wings greyish hyaline, with yellowish stigmae; veins black, with yellowish base; discal cross-vein placed at about the middle of the discoidal cell; cubital fork about three times as long as broad at end; anal cell briefly stalked.

Description of male in:
Hesse, A.J. 1975. Additions to the South African species of Phthirinnae and Usiinae (Diptera: Bombyliidae) with keys to all the known species. Annals of the South African Museum 66
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40911307#page/351/mode/1up

Male: Body mainly black, only narrowish hind margins of sternites pallid; broadish hind margins of tergites on sides appearing greyish white, due to greyish white tomentum.

Distribution: Gauteng & KZN Drakensberg (Van Reenen)

iNat observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/153442998

Posted on 08 February, 2024 12:50 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

28 January, 2024

Anthrax candidulus Hesse, 1956

A black fly with disctinct wing pattern. Scaling almost entirely black, white scaling on abdomen above only conspicuous on sides of tergites 5, 6 and 7 in males and to a lesser extent in females; 4 small white tufts across hind margins of 2 and 3 and two sub-medial ones on 4 and 5.

Description and illustration of wing in:
Hesse, A.J. 1956. A revision of the Bombyliidae (Diptera) of southern Africa. Part II; Part III. Annals of the South African Museum 35.
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40844208#page/439/mode/1up
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40844208#page/483/mode/1up

iNat observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/197802590

Posted on 28 January, 2024 17:53 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

27 January, 2024

Spogostylum incisurale (Macquart, 1840)

Spogostylum spp are dull sandy coloured or greyish-brownish due to a mix of black and white hair and white and yellowish scales.


Wings hyaline or with indistinct yellow-brown tinge; with three (rarely two) blackish spots ( brownish in middle of first basal cell, on middle cross vein region and at base of fourth posterior cell respectively, often also with a less conspicuous or very faint infusion at base of third posterior cell, sometimes even with an obscure spot at base of first basal cell and another very faint one at base of upper cubital branch)
Origin of second longitudinal vein just opposite to the discal cross-vein; base of second vein and of upper cubital branch always provided with long stumps.
Scutellum brownish, with white margings.
Abdomen with narrow or less distinct yellow hind border on segments. Tufts of hairs on sides of abdomen alternating pale and dark.

Description by Loew (Anthrax mixtus):
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/35325#page/230/mode/1up

Wing illustrated in Loew, fig 16:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/35325#page/349/mode/1up

Description by Hesse 1965 (Argyramoeba incisuralis):
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40844208#page/477/mode/1up

Original description:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/54217#page/63/mode/1up
Plate 20, fig. 4: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/54217#page/225/mode/1up

Hosts: Most records for Spogostylum spp are as parasitoids of solitary bees and wasps nesting in soil, egg pods of Acrididae and their predators, and pupae of Lepidoptera and their parasitoids in soil. S. incisurale has been eared in South Africa from pupae of Loxostege frustalis and cocoons of its braconid parasitoid wasp Macrocentrus maraisi.

Distribution: Southern and eastern Africa as far north as Uganda (and further north). This is one of the most common species in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

iNat observation:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/197629944

Posted on 27 January, 2024 08:04 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

18 January, 2024

Exoprosopa praefica Loew, 1860

Scaling on abdomen above predominantly black and dense, only those transversely on sides of tergite 3 and numerous ones intermixed on sides of 6 and 7 white. Wings with a distinctive dark Litorhina-like pattern, consisting of a black infuscation, extending from base to level of submarginal cross vein, leaving the apex of wings clear, and with this infuscation divided in the middle by a clear indentation.

Description Hesse 1956:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40844644#page/828/mode/1up

Original description Loew 1860:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/35325#page/247/mode/1up

Wing illustrated in Loew, fig 27:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/35325#page/349/mode/1up

Distribution: South Africa, Zimbabwe

iNat observation:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/196975314

Posted on 18 January, 2024 15:35 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

17 January, 2024

Enica longirostris (Wiedemann, 1819)

An very distinctive fly of brownish colour with yellowish-white coloration on the head. The pile of the front, the sides of the thorax and scutellum and all tibiae and femora is decidedly bristly and black. The thorax above and the whole abdomen, is covered with matted, appressed pile, slightly scaliform, of mixed colours, pale brown and brownish white or yellow.
The wings are quite distinctive; the costal cell is yellowish and the remainder of the wing infuscated brown, though paler on the posterior half; it has 8 distinct and conspicuous pale whitish fenestrate spots centered about the crossveins and vein furcations, and each of considerable size. There are 3 submarginal cells and the marginal cell is divided into 3 cells by 2 extra crossveins. The second vein often arises as a crossvein with backward spur. The wing is narrow basally, the alula narrow.

The wing is illustrated in Hull 1973:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/102774#page/514/mode/1up

Description by Bezzi 1956:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40844162#page/48/mode/1up

Original description by Wiedemann (Anthrax longirostris):
Wiedemann, C.R.W. 1819. Beschreibung neuer Zweiflügler aus Ostindien und Afrika. Zoologisches Magazin 1(3)
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/14928692#page/19/mode/1up

Distribution: Western Cape, South Africa

iNat observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/664128-Enica-longirostris/browse_photos

Posted on 17 January, 2024 17:38 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

15 January, 2024

Petrorossia angustibasalis Hesse, 1956

Abdomen with central, discal, black band on abdomen above very broad, much broader than red on sides.
Legs predominantly yellowish.
Vestiture on face usually, or even entirely,
Fine scaling above gleaming brassy yellowish.
Wings with the infuscated brownish yellowish. Apex of wings (figure) from apex of costal cell more or less straight; alula and axillary lobe reduced, the wings thus also appearing pedunculate.

Distribution: Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal), Zimbabwe

iNat observation:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/196684109

Posted on 15 January, 2024 16:06 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment