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'Master of mimicry' robber fly threatens Florida's bumblebees

Posted at 8:49 AM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 08:55:37-04

One of the bee's seasonal predators is fully abuzz this summer.

Florida Fish and Wildlife shared a close-up picture Friday of a typical robber fly, perched on a pizza box.

The fly looks similar to the common bumblebee, and can even go so far as to mimic the bee's sounds.

FWC officials say this is a defense mechanism when the robber fly is facing its own predators, but the so-called "master of mimicry" can use the same method to infiltrate bumblebee communities when they are looking for food of its own.

The robber fly can be distinguished from bees, at least by humans, by their antennae and wings. The flies have short, stubby antennae while bees have the jointed kind; flies only sport one pair of wings while bees have two pair.

These flies can also feast upon yellow jackets, according to FWC.