It’s just ‘one of those things’.
When I discovered the hovering-destroyer insect yesterday, I got very overexcited, entertaining all kinds of thoughts about how rare it must be, fantasising about the royal entomological society letting me name it.
It was like a revelation, seeing a new member of nature’s family, for the first time observing its unique form, modified after millions of years, a master of its own unique purpose. And this thing really was a master, you could tell by the way it hovered about the place.
It turns out this creature is Bombylius Major or simply bee-fly, a species of fly which has adapted to mimic bees so as to use their nests as a home for their young and parasitize the host’s. So it’s not a hero of the insect world like the bee, noble in intent, master of industry, warrior of the eco-system. It’s a fly that has evolved to excel at subterfuge, conning bees and wasps left right and centre.
But is it all bad? Absolutely not, the man who identified it for me from the RES reassured me that bee-flies are excellent pollinators. I mean you’d bloody well think so with a proboscis like that, am I right?
It is completely harmless to humans. Despite its very hairy bee like exterior and pointed abdomen, this thing couldn’t hurt a bee-fly. The proboscis is just a very long straw, not much of a weapon (imagine being threatened by a man with a very long straw).
So I presumed that I knew everything, as one can often get caught doing, and thought I’d found a real alien but it turns out they’re quite common. Especially in Leicestershire. It turns out ‘it’s just one of those things.’
A fraud, an incognito, Aldi brand bee. But I like it nonetheless, you can’t argue with the aesthetics. She’s a winner. Ruthless beyond comprehension, she sold us all down the river.
Keep an eye out for this beautiful hovering-destroyer insect. And tell your mates what it is before they get in a tizzy about it and pour their emotions onto social media.