Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Tails

A red-tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarius busy collecting nectar from the chive flowers ....

.... and a little further down the flower border, collecting nectar from a scabious flower - Volucella bombylans, the hoverfly that mimics the bee's colour scheme.

There are two common forms of V. bombylans - this one and another with yellow fur on the body and a whitish tip to the abdomen that mimics the white-tailed bumblebee. The hoverfly larvae feed inside wasps' nests - how they avoid being eaten by wasps is not known. Most years we have a wasp nest in the garden somewhere, so this hoverfly is usually around.

There's more mimicry here