Location: SW Florida
March 11, 2011 7:27 pm
Haven’t seen this one before. Found in a local park. Landed only on leaves & always faced me when moving from leaf to leaf. About 2 inches long. Also flies. Head swivels like Dragonflies does. I’ve been taking nature photos for 20 years & this bug is a new one for me & I cannot find it in any of my critter I.D. books. Hope you can help, thnak you.
This is a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, but we are having problems with a more specific identification. We believe it is either in either the genus Mallophora or the genus Laphria, both of which mimic bees. These predatory Robber Flies are fierce hunters and they prey upon bees, wasps and other large flying insects which they attack on the wing. We are favoring Laphria, because it appears that the antennae are thicker, though the angle of your photograph makes that feature difficult to verify. There are numerous species in the genus Laphria, and we are having problems identifying all the features your specimen possesses and matching them to a specific species. The combination of yellow beard, yellow thorax, yellow markings on abdomen, and yellow hairs on the legs should be distinguishing features, and we cannot seem to find a match on BugGuide. We are going to try to contact a Robber Fly expert, Dr. Robert Cannings, to see if he is able to provide a species identification.
It’s good to hear from you.
The robber fly is definitely a Laphria. There are a number of species in Florida, and I’m not familiar enough with them to be able to make a reasonable guess at this one’s identity. It’s a nice photo, but I can’t see the sides of the thorax or the abdominal colour pattern well enough to run it through a key. You could try Eric Fisher who knows much more about southern US species than I do.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.