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Friday, May 14, 2010

Bee Fly

Why would a fly be called a bee fly? Answer, because it mimics a bee. Now why would a fly want to mimic a bee? The mimicry of a bee would help it to protect itself from predators that avoids it after having learned that a bee can sting, giving it some form of passive protection, but I suppose if the encounter is with non experience predators the mimicry would not help, perhaps it is nature’s way of keeping the population of Bee flies in check. Just like we would not think twice smacking a fly to death with whatever is in hand but will hesitate and be more careful if it is a bee, in case you miss. Yes, I have been there and had learned my lesson too.
Technically referred to as Batesian mimicry, meaning something harmless is imitating something dangerous. Some flies may bite but they cannot sting like a bee, they have no stinger.
Although the mimicry is quite good in most cases and is difficult to tell the differences, when observed closer, bees have four wings while flies have only two. The next thing to observe is the antennae, bees have elbowed antennae and flies have short thin antennae which are hardly visible. Flying patterns are also different, flies hover and move erratically, bees move slowly and do not hover in the same place.

The photo taken is of a bee fly from the family Bombyliidae, no clue as to the specific genus though. I initially thought I was taking a photo of a bee, till I look closer.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two days in Jakarta.

I flew into Jakarta with a brief stopover in Singapore to attend a meeting before continuing my journey to start my work assignment the next day. Having flown budget airlines the past few weeks, it is a welcome change to fly regular airlines on this occasion, no more worries if there are enough umbrellas if it rains when the plane lands or being told that the check in counter has been changed yet again (my record stands at 3 changes for a single check in) to another row after being in queue for the last half hour or even worse whether that brown stain on the seat is just spilled coffee. Moral of the story, you get what you pay for but I suppose the savings gotten is most of the time worth it.
Jakarta being Indonesia’s capital and largest city with a population of close to10 million, is the country’s economic, cultural and political centre. For some of us older people we might remember it being spelled as Djakarta not too long ago.
For my brief two days stay, I only had the opportunity to see a small portion of the western part of Jakarta in which I am told by my host that it is the more developed part of Jakarta.
Like any other big city of the world, people are on the move everywhere, no one seems to sleep, traffic jam is an everyday event. The flight from Singapore took a bit more than an hour, the journey from Soekarno – Hatta Airport to my hotel took two hours.