Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A notable genus of syrphid flies, some of them mimicking bumblebees in general appearance, and parasitic, in the larval state, upon the larvæ of these bees and in the nests of wasps. Forty-five species are known in North America, and seven in Europe.
“The stick-insect is perhaps the most perfect example where resemblance to an inanimate object has been the result aimed at, so to speak, by nature; the resemblance of the volucella fly to the humble-bee, on which it is parasitical, is the most familiar example of one species growing like another to its own advantage, since only by means of its deceptive likeness to the humble-bee is it able to penetrate into the nest with impunity.”
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