Currently viewing the category: "Robber Flies"
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Subject: Large insect with wasp prey
Location: West coast of British Columbia
July 29, 2015 3:43 pm
I took these photos on July 29/15 in the town of Nanaimo, on the west coast of British Columbia. This awesome creature was on a salal leaf, in a dry forest of Douglas fir, hemlock, and arbutus. I wanted to get a side view shot as well, but it must have been bothered by my intrusion into its juicy meal, and flew away. Can you tell what species it is? I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Laphria genus, Robber flies.
Thanks a lot. Love your site!
Signature: John Segal

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Dear John,
Because of the thick antennae that helps to identify the genus, we agree that this is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus
Laphria, and after searching through 10 pages of species on BugGuide, we have narrowed down the possibilities to five species that have yellow thoracic hair and that generally resemble your individual, which appears to be feeding on a Yellowjacket based on this facial closeup on BugGuide.    The abdomen on Laphria fernaldi appears too orange to be your species.  In alphabetical order, the most similar looking species on BugGuide are:  Laphria astur Laphria janusLaphria partitor and Laphria unicolor.  Of those, we believe the images of Laphria astur on BugGuide look the closest, but we are by no means experts in the identification of Robber Flies.  Thanks for your excellent Food Chain contribution, and in the future, we can accept larger digital files to ensure the highest quality of the images on our site.

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellow Jacket

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Hi Daniel,
Thanks very much for helping me identify an insect I’ve never seen before.  I really appreciate it.
Those photos are about 650 X 450 KB; the size I use for email. Let me know if you’d like me to send them again, as larger files, and what the maximum size is that you can receive.
Thanks again.  Excellent website you have there!
John

Hi John,
We can easily accept 5MB files.  We are then able to crop into details like the antennae on this Bee-Like Robber Fly.  You may send them larger and we will crop to some details.

Hi Daniel,
Great! Okay, here are my two photos, each about 1.7 MB.
Thanks again for your great website, and all the work you do for us bug-curious types!
John

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Thanks for sending the higher resolution files.  Since you already cropped the images the first time, we were not able to magnify much more, but we did move a bit closer.

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Subject: i need to identify this insect
Location: fenton, missouri
July 28, 2015 3:49 pm
Can you please tell me what kind of bug this is?
Signature: however you want

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

This is a Hanging Thief, a predatory Robber Fly in the genus Diogmites.

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Subject: predatory fly
Location: Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA
July 26, 2015 4:20 pm
Saw this fly in a neighbor’s dead bamboo. I got a look at it through binoculars, and it reminded me of deer flies I’ve seen in NorCal and So. OR, but those don’t live here, nor do they take other flies as prey. The first photo is a nice clear shot from underneath, and you can see the wings of the prey sticking out. In the, second, rather blurry photo (just could *not* get the camera to focus on anything but those intervening twigs), you can kind-of make out the relative position and size of the two. The predator was an inch (or so) long, and I’ve never knowingly seen another one in my 50+ years in this area.
Signature: Eric Simpson

Bee Killer

Bee Killer

Dear Eric,
This predator is a Robber Fly, and though the image is not the best for identification purposes, we suspect it is a Bee Killer,
Mallophora fautrix, the only member of the genus found in California.  These large Robber Flies are impressive and very adept hunters.

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Subject: Huge crazy fly
Location: McKinney, Texas
July 23, 2015 7:50 am
I went outside and heard an amazing ruckus in the bushes and found two of these very large, hairy, long, and huge-eyed flying buggers mating with each other. They look rather fierce and I’m not sure if they are a type of dragonfly? The picture shows the front of one of them, still attached to the other. Since they are obviously busy, I didn’t want to get too close or to be too intrusive!
Signature: Lover of bugs, Michelle

Mating Robber Flies

Mating Robber Flies

Dear Michelle,
There is not enough detail in your image to be certain, but we believe your mating Robber Flies may be Red Footed Cannibalflies.

Thank you so much!  I clicked the link to your site and that is exactly what it is.
And thank you for all you do.  I just love your site!

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Subject: what kind of flying bug is this?
Location: massachusetts, USA
July 23, 2015 12:18 pm
it was flying around my room and had a very loud buzz.
Signature: tim

Robber Fly Carnage

Robber Fly Carnage

Dear Tim,
This is a harmless, beneficial, predatory Robber Fly, and it will obviously buzz no more.  In an effort to educate our readership on the harmlessness of most insects, we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage  In the future, if you are able to trap an unwanted bug indoors in a glass, you can slip a postcard over the opening and relocate the critter outside.

Thank you for telling me what the bug was. I killed the insect because i saw the huge tail it had. It looked like a stinger that could do some damage. I don’t love killing anything, but i wasn’t going to take the chance to get a sting or a bite from a potentially poisonous insect.
I did read they can bite humans. They also have a toxic saliva that liquifies their prey.
Sometime i do catch the insects and let them outside. I wasnt going to take a chance with this unknown bug with a baby in the house though. Hopefully you understand.

Dear Tim,
Your explanation is fully understandable.  What you mistook for a stinger is actually the ovipositor of the female, an organ used to lay eggs, and interestingly,  in wasps, bees and some ants, the ovipositor has evolved into a stinger.  We imagine the bite of a Robber Fly might have some unpleasant side effects, but we have never received a report of a person being bitten by one, nor have we heard of anyone who tried to handle a Robber Fly, which we imagine might result in a bite.

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Subject: Giant “bee”?
Location: Westwood MA 02090
June 30, 2015 7:25 pm
Found this rather Docile, Giant bee like bug today at my camp and could not identify.
About the length of my index finger (3″).
Much larger than a carpenter bee and someone thought it could be an invasive Asian Resin bee, but all pics look again, too small.
Both pics are the same bug.
Help!!
And thanks!
Signature: James R

Bee-Like Robber Fly

Bee-Like Robber Fly

Dear James,
Your confusion is understandable.  This is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus
Laphria, most likely either Laphria virginica or Laphria flavicollis.  Of Laphria virginica, BugGuide states:  “Easy to confuse with L. flavicollis. The main gestalt things to look for are the hairiness of the black abdomen, very fuzzy in virginica but somewhat glossy in flavicollis. The golden hair on the top of the thorax looks more swept back and finely constructed in flavicollis. And in virginica, the legs have a reddish brown tone to the fuzz in good light.”

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination