The drone fly (Eristalis tenax) is one of around 460 different species of hover fly that occur in Switzerland. At first glance, it looks very similar to a honey bee but only has one pair of wings and much shorter feelers.
Honey from the dung hill? Behaviour of a special hover fly
The larvae of the widespread drone fly (Eristalis tenax) like to develop in cess pools and dung hills. So that the larvae can breathe at all, they have a retractable, telescope-like breathing tube that they extend out of the dung hill. When the drone fly transforms into the winged insect after the pupal phase, an animal appears that is very similar to the honey bee and is also often mistaken for it (“mimicry”). Medieval information on the development of the honey bees is based on this hover fly being mistaken for a bee. In ancient times, it was even assumed that sufficient quantities of manure and slurry have to be available to produce honey. As an adult insect, the hover fly feeds exclusively on nectar and pollen. Like other adult hover flies, it also contributes to pollination and is very popular in agriculture. However, the hover fly does not produce any honey…