Monday 7 April 2014

April Wildlife Video Quiz

These little insects appear in March and by April are common all over the Touraine in sunny gardens and flowery wild places. You can easily observe them at flowers and if you are lucky you will observe them engaged in the very interesting behaviour you see in the video.

Points will be awarded as follows:
  • 2 points for its English name.
  • 3 points for its scientific name.
  • 1 bonus point each for the nerdy ones amongst you who want to give me scientific Family and Order.
  • 2 bonus points if you can give me its French name (as far as I know it doesn't really have one).
  • 5 points if you can correctly describe what it is doing and the purpose of it.
  • 3 bonus points if you can tell me what it will do next.
Nature News: I heard my first cuckoo yesterday. We haven't had the pleasure of the swallows arriving in Preuilly yet, although we saw them a week ago in Le Louroux and Montrésor.
Quiz Results: A total of 2 points to Antoinette for identifying it as a Bombylius sp bee fly. A total of 6 points to chm for giving me the full scientific (B. major) and la Grande bombyle (which now that he mentions it, I have heard before). I've awarded him an extra point for all the extra Bombylius spp French names he has supplied. A total of 7 points to Anton as he also supplied an English name (although I prefer Dark-edged Bee Fly) as well as family and order.

All of you guessed that it was egg laying, but this is in fact the answer to the question of what it will do next. What it is doing in the video is loading up its rear end with sand, which stick to the eggs when they are laid. This disguises and protects the eggs.


Niall & Antoinette said...

Pretty sure it's a Bee fly [Bombylius ??] and my guess is it is laying eggs.
No idea what it's called in French :-)

chm said...

If Antoinette is right, and I think she is, this female Bombylius major seems to be introducing her eggs into the nests of solitary bees.

I found several different names in French for this kind of fly:
Mouches à toison or Mouche à moustache
Grand bombyle or Bombyle Bichon = Bombylius major
Mouches-Bourdon = Bombylius canescens
Petit Bombyle = Bombylius minor
Bombyle bicolore" Bombylius discolor

Anton said...

Large bee-fly
Bombylius major
Grand bombyle
It's a female flicking its eggs into a nearby ground bee burrow?
As for what it will do next, I'm guessing it will stop at some primrose flowers to refuel on nectar?

Tim said...

As, at this point, you haven't put thye anszwer up....
I'll stick me happeth in...
She is dusting her egg with soil/dust
[presumably to cammmmmo-flarge its scent/appearance??]...
the next thing she will do is to deposit it near to a suitable sucker's nest hole??

What she appeared to be doing initially...
if she were cat or dog...
would mean that we'd have to clean the floor.

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