A bumblebee killer does not cause population declines. Why is that?

Check out Roadside Science’s new post on the conopid fly, which does to bumblebees basically what the baby alien does to the astronaut lady in the movie Alien, as you can see in this video.

Writer Carolyn Beans has a cool story about how she learned about these weird parasitic flies, and then she delves into the science. On first thought, you might expect that parasitoids that kill their hosts would cause population declines, especially if the rate of parasitism is high, but Beans surprisingly writes:

“When I first noticed the conopid fly, it looked like a bully. Now that I know more, it looks like a creature right out of a horror movie. But [UVA grad student and bumblebee researcher extrodinaire] Rosemary Malfi is quick to remind people that the relationship between the bumblebee and the conopid fly is completely natural. These species have long coexisted. ‘No one has linked conopid flies with bumblebee population declines,’ says  Malfi.”

Read the full story here.


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