Fake Bees

At first glance, you might think this was a small bumble bee. I did, and this isn’t my first bumble rodeo. But look at those eyes. In front of the face, not on the side like a bee. And the eyes are touching: this is a fly, a bumblebee-mimicking fly. Possible Merodon genus.
Here’s another. Abdomen looks quite different, so I’m thinking perhaps Mallota genus. The wing pattern, which seems to be a major way to separate these two similar genera, can’t really be discerned. An awful lot of insects can’t be(e) told apart without an expert in the family (of insects, or if you’re lucky enough to have an entomologist in the family tree) or the insect in hand. Since I concentrate on photographing and not capturing, so be it.
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The spontaneous vascular plant survey of Central Park has been published in the Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. Worth a look.
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Credit to the U.S. for not exporting tear gas, a chemical weapon, to China to use on Hong Kong democrats. But then, perhaps the real reason is that police-paramilitaries wanted it on hand to use on peaceful protesters in the U.S.

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