In a previous post, I mentioned that there are two major kinds of bee mimics, those Anthophilous (flower loving) that we think mimic bees as a means of self-defense, and those predators that we think mimic bees as a way of sneaking up on them.
When I hiked Pike’s Peak last week, I encountered Bombyliid flies, which fall into the first category. They have exceptionally long probosces, which they use for probing flowers for nectar. They are fairly adorable, as far as flies go; essentially they are little round fuzzy balls. Maybe, just maybe, they are my favourite representative of that sometimes despicable (read: mosquitoes) order of Diptera.
There is a hilarious note in the Wikipedia article on Bee flies (not cited, so believe at your own risk): “In parts of East Anglia locals refer to them as ‘beewhals’, in reference to their lance-like proboscises.“