Fly species found in UK for first time

An amateur entomologist has discovered a black-bee fly in his garden. 

Black bee-fly discovered in the UK for the first time © Rob Mills
Black bee-fly discovered in the UK for the first time © Rob Mills

The black bee-fly, known scientifically as Anthrax anthrax, has been found and photographed for the first time in the UK near Cambridge by Buglife member Rob Mills.

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This species of bee-fly is found in many parts of Europe, including France and Germany, and was thought to have been in the UK for some time. The photograph of the black bee-fly, on a bee hotel, is the first positive proof of its presence here.

“Now one black bee-fly has been seen and photographed in Britain,” said Alan Stubbs, Buglife’s vice-president, “it may prove to be among a growing number of insects which are establishing themselves in response to a warmer climate.”

Unlike other bee-flies seen in UK gardens during spring, it doesn’t have a long proboscis. It also doesn’t mimic bees in the way that the large bee-fly, Bombylius major, does.

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The dark-edged bee-fly, Bombylius major, is a bee mimic © Steven Falk 

The larvae of black bee-fly live in the nest cells of mason and leaf-cutter bees, which often use bee hotels.

The addition of the black bee-fly to the UK fauna brings the total number of bee-fly species in the UK to ten. 

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