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Tiger Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Tiger Bee Fly



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



Updated: 08/12/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The widespread Tiger Bee Fly is easy to mistake for a mosquito given its coloration. Its large size and fuzzy body could lead one into thinking it is a bee, but this exotic looking insect is, in fact, a mere fly. It does not take blood meals nor does it sting. The black body has two white spots on the abdomen. The black pattern on the otherwise transparent wings may have resembled tiger stripes just enough to use 'tiger' in its name. Its name is the most menacing thing about the adult.

The larvae, however, are parasites and are more ferocious. 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 visits these holes and, if eggs are already in them, it adds its own to the lot. The Tiger Bee Fly larvae hatch and then consume the living Carpenter Bee larvae before the bees can mature enough to escape.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Bombyliidae
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          Genus: Xenox
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            Species: tigrinus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Xenox tigrinus
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 19mm (0.43" to 0.74")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, white
Descriptors: spotted, flying, large, fuzzy, hairy, mosquito

Tiger-Bee-Fly Video(s)




A Tiger Bee Fly moving along a fence.
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 11mm (0.4in) and 19mm (0.7in)
Lo: 11mm
Md: 15mm
Hi: 19mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Tiger Bee Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Tiger Bee Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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