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Tiger Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Tiger Bee Fly, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 8/24/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Tiger Bee Fly  
Picture of Tiger-Bee-Fly
Picture of Tiger-Bee-Fly Picture of Tiger-Bee-FlyPicture of Tiger-Bee-FlyPicture of Tiger-Bee-FlyPicture of Tiger-Bee-Fly

It may look like a black bumble bee or mosquito, but the Tiger Bee Fly is simply a large fly.

The widespread Tiger Bee Fly has a long proboscis that could make it easy to mistake for a mosquito. The large size and fuzzy body may lead one into thinking it is a bee. Alas, this exotic looking insect is a mere fly. It does not take blood meals or sting. In fact, the large wildly patterned adult drinks flower nectar with its proboscis. The black pattern on the otherwise transparent wings may have resembled tiger stripes enough to use the feline in its name. That name is the most menacing feature for the adult.

The larvae, however, are parasites and perhaps act more like its namesake. Female Tiger Bee Flies lay their fertilized eggs in the nest of Carpenter Bees. Carpenter Bee females usually bore perfectly round holes into wooden fence posts or beams to lay their eggs. The Tiger Bee Fly will visit these and, if eggs are already in them, it will add its own to the mix. The Tiger Bee Fly larvae will hatch and then consume the living Carpenter Bee larvae before they can mature enough to fly away.

Picture of the Tiger Bee Fly
Picture of the Tiger Bee Fly

Tiger Bee Fly Information

Category: Fly or Mosquito
Common Name: Tiger Bee Fly
Scientific Name: Xenox tigrinus

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Diptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Bombyliidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Xenox
       Arrow graphic Species: tigrinus

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 11 mm to 19 mm (0.429 inches to 0.741 inches)
Identifying Colors: black, white
Additional Descriptors: spotted, flying, large, fuzzy, hairy, mosquito

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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