This strange insect feeding on pollen is a beetle disguised as a bee.

 

bee beetle on umbellifer

 

To a curious human observer the legs are a giveaway.  A bee’s flexible legs are tucked away beneath it as it feeds; these long, stiff legs with bristly joints spell beetle.

 

bee beetle on umbellifer

 

To an insect eating bird, looking for a tasty snack that doesn’t sting, ‘yellow, black and furry’ spells bee.   This individual’s disguise may be less convincing than usual.  Rotating sprinklers were running in the alpine garden of the Jardin des Plantes, where I spotted this mimic.  The bee beetle’s spiky fur suggests it has had a recent wetting.  Maybe that’s why it was hiding away in a shady corner of the garden.

Click on any photo to enlarge it or for some great pictures of dry, furry bee beetles click here.