What’s that strange looking brown insect with a big head?

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Is it a wasp or a fly? This is Sicus ferrugineus, a member of the Canopidae, a sub family of the large order of insects known as Diptera or True Flies. Insects within this group are often referred to as Thick-headed flies because their heads are wider than their thorax.

This one was photographed in Falmouth, Cornwall using a twin headed flash unit mounted to the head of a 100mm Canon macro lens.

Insight into Sicus ferrugineus: The adults feed on nectar from flowers and the females lay eggs in bees and wasps in which the larvae then feed, eventually causing death to their host.

Many of this family have brown and yellow markings and are easily mistaken for wasps which may offer them some protection against predation. This parasitic British fly is common throughout much of the UK and Europe.

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