Arthropods of Eaton Canyon

Bee Fly (Anthrax albofasciatus cascadensis); Family: Bee Flies (Bombyliidae); Order: Diptera

Bee flies get their name from their nectar-feeding habit, as well as their furry appearance. As nectar-drinking insects, they may also pollinate the flowers they visit. The larvae of bee flies are parasitic on burrowing and hole-nesting insects, such as solitary bees. The fly pictured here was found on a log in Moist Canyon, a tributary wash of lower Eaton Canyon. The San Gabriel Mountains are about the southernmost reported area for this species, according to entomologist Neal Evenhuis of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, HI.

Box Elder Bug (Boisea rubrolineata); Family: Scentless Plant Bugs (Rhopalidae); Length: ~ 1/2 inch (13 mm)

Though superficially similar to the Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmii), the Box-Elder Bug is distinguished by a bright red abdomen, orange to reddish wing margins, and red eyes. This bug feeds primarily on broad-leaf trees, such as box-elder, ash, maple, and sycamore. Seen especially on warm spring days. The accompanying photos show a Box-Elder Bug nymph on leaf litter and an adult on a young sycamore (Platanus racemosa) leaf.

Brown Leatherwing (Cantharis consors); Family: Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)

Adults are about 5/8 to 3/4 inch long. Though little is known about the habits of this beetle, adults feed on Aphids and other insects. If handled, these insects may give off an unpleasant odor.

Honeybee (Apis mellifera); This is the European honeybee, not our native species.

This honeybee is moving to a new Bermuda buttercup blossom (Oxalis pes-caprae). Notice the already bulky load of orange pollen attached to his legs.

Tachinid Fly (species not identified); Family: Tachinid Flies (Tachinidae); Order: True Flies (Diptera)

Adults feed on nectar. The females deposit their eggs on insects and other arthropods. Their larvae subsequently become internal parasites, eventually killing their host. The tachinid in the photo is seen on a flower head of Long-Stemmed Buckwheat. Brian Brown, Associate Curator of Entomology, Natural History Museum of L.A., confirmed the ID.

Tarantula (genus Aphonopelmus)

This specimen was photographed by Gabi McLean in Fish Canyon.