Hidden in taxonomy: Batesian mimicry by a syrphid fly towards a Patagonian bumblebee - NMS Research Repository
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Hidden in taxonomy: Batesian mimicry by a syrphid fly towards a Patagonian bumblebee



1.Batesian mimicry has been repeatedly reported in syrphid flies (Diptera: Syrphidae), with noxious Hymenoptera identified as the models, including bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Aculeata). Despite the number of detailed studies of bumblebee mimics from the Holarctic, only minimal biological and ecological information is available for the same phenomenon in most other biogeographical regions. 2.Here, we analyse in detail a case of Batesian mimicry by the syrphid fly Aneriophora aureorufa Philippi towards the bumblebee Bombus dahlbomii Guérin from Patagonia, a relationship only briefly noted previously in taxonomic studies. A. aureorufa possesses strikingly similar red tawny colouration to the highly hairy body of its model, and somewhat resembles it also in size. Cluster analysis suggests that the mimicry is more pronounced towards larger rather than smaller bumblebee workers. 3.The mimicry is visually very good, but there was no evidence of a behavioural component. Foraging activity of both species seems to be largely restricted to the endemic plant Eucryphia cordifolia. The time spent on flowers was much higher in syrphid flies than in B. dahlbomii and other pollinators, and the time spent between flower visits largely overlapped between all the tested species. 4.The endemic distribution, the apparent plant specialisation, and the invasion of alien bumblebees, make B. dahlbomii and A. aureorufa potentially threatened in some parts of the austral American forests, a priority conservation area.


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