Anthrax (fly)

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Anthrax anthrax
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachycera
Family: Bombyliidae
Subfamily: Anthracinae
Tribe: Anthracini
Genus: Anthrax
Scopoli, 1763
Type species
Anthrax anthrax
Scopoli, 1763
  • Chalcamoeba Sack, 1909
  • Chrysamoeba Sack, 1909

Anthrax is a genus of bombyliid flies, commonly known as "bee-flies" due to their resemblance to bees. Most are dull black flies, and are usually small to medium in size, 4–20 millimetres (0.2–0.8 in), and many species have striking wing patterns.[1]

Anthrax is a very large genus. While worldwide in distribution, most species are from the Palaearctic and Afrotropic regions. The genus includes species parasitic on tiger beetles – an unusual trait among the bee-flies. A. anthrax larvae parasitize bees. Many North American species parasitize solitary wasps.[2]

The type species is Musca morio Linnaeus, 1758, later found to be a misidentification of Musca anthrax Schrank, 1781.[3]


Anthrax flies often hover around people and land on them.[2] This one, a member of A. oedipus or a similar species, landed repeatedly on the photographer's jeans.
Early conception of the genus Anthrax sensu Meigen.Plate from Johann Wilhelm Meigen Europäischen Zweiflügeligen.The genus is now much more restricted Only one species depicted in this plate is still in Anthrax


  1. ^ F. M. Hull (1973). Bee flies of the world. The genera of the family Bombyliidae. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 1–687. ISBN 0-87474-131-9. 
  2. ^ a b Eaton, Eric R.; Kaufman, Kenn (2007). Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Houghton Mifflin. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-618-15310-7. 
  3. ^ Magdi S. El-Hawagry; Aly A. El-Moursy; Francis Gilbert; Samy Zalat (2000). "The tribe Anthracini Latreille (Bombyliidae, Diptera) from Egypt" (PDF). Egyptian Journal of Biology. 2: 97–117. 
  4. ^ El-Hawagry; Khalil; Sharaf; Fadl; Aldawood (2013). "A preliminary study on the insect fauna of Al-Baha Province, Saudi Arabia, with descriptions of two new species". ZooKeys. 274: 1–88. doi:10.3897/zookeys.274.4529. PMC 3677392Freely accessible. PMID 23794807.