Currently viewing the category: "Robber Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Another Southern Bee Killer?
Location: Coryell County, Texas
August 14, 2014 9:55 am
I saw that you had many robber fly inquiries last week. Here is mine. :-)
You kindly identified a Southern Bee Killer for me several years ago. Is this insect the same? It was hiding in plain sight, holding perfectly still on a young crepe myrtle tree, which is a bee magnet due to its many fragrant clusters of blossoms.
Thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Southern Bee Killer

Southern Bee Killer

Dear Ellen,
Taking a closer look at your previous submission from 2009, we now believe neither is a Southern Bee Killer,
Mallophora orcina, as the individuals pictured on BugGuide all have black-tipped abdomens.  Your individual appears to have a yellow abdomen all the way to the tip, which is why we believe it is a different species in the same genus, Mallophora fautrix.  Compare your images to this individual on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, it ranges from:  “Texas west to California, southward through Mexico.”  We would really love to get an expert opinion on this identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big fly?
Location: corinth, tx
August 12, 2014 6:23 pm
I was . walking the dog and solve this bug eating a cicada.it looked like it was about one and a half to 2 inches long. I have never seen one and I wanted to know what it was.
Signature: Larry L.

Robber Fly eats Cicada

Robber Fly eats Cicada

Dear Larry,
This is some species of Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and it is not a species we immediately recognize, so we are going to have to research its identity.  It is indeed eating a Cicada.  Robber Flies are highly specialized predators that are very adept at taking large prey on the wing.  Texas and Arizona both have unusual, not commonly seen Robber Flies that are not found elsewhere in the U.S., though the ranges of those species frequently extend into Mexico.  We believe that based on this image from BugGuide, it may be
Microstylum morosum.  According to Beetles in the Bush, this is “North America’s largest robber fly” and “Until recently, Microstylum morosum was considered a Texas-endemic.  However, Beckemeyer and Carlton (2000) documented this species to be much more broadly distributed in the southern Great Plains (from Texas up into Oklahoma and Kansas and west into New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado), and Warriner (2004) recorded it shortly afterwards in Arkansas.”  We wrote to Eric Eaton to see if he agrees with our identification.

Eric Eaton concurs
I would agree.  Seems to be a pretty distinctive species.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Looks to be a Red-footed Cannibalfly
Location: Franklin, TN (Nashville area)
August 11, 2014 1:32 pm
We’re looking for a confirmation on this being a robber fly. Your site was soo helpful in both researching what we saw out our front door and learning more about the bug in question.
This guy was about 3 cm in length and “snacking” on a wasp.
Our 3 and 5 yr old were fighting for the best position to watch this guy through a window. Question – how bad would a bite from this guy be to a small kid? And, is it okay to hang out around them as they protect our air space?
Signature: Jeff

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Hi Jeff,
We agree that this is a Red Footed Cannibalfly, and it appears to be eating a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes (See BugGuide).  We believe a bite from a Red Footed Cannibalfly would be painful, but otherwise present no lasting effects, however we should qualify that that we believe the chances of being bitten are at about 0% unless a person decided to try to catch a Red Footed Cannibalfly by hand.  They are not aggressive towards humans, and if provoked, they would most likely just fly off.  Handling them is a totally different matter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Very large bee insect
Location: Cumming, ga
August 9, 2014 4:00 pm
Hello,
The attached picture looks like a very large bee, but it has long legs, flies, has a furry ruff around it’s neck and was on my green car side view mirror the other day. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Signature: Marisa

Red Footed Cannibalflies

Red Footed Cannibalflies

Hi Marisa,
This is the fourth image we are posting today of a Red Footed Cannibalfly, a large predatory Robber Fly, including one image of a mating pair of Red Footed Cannibalflies.
  Add to that two images of Hanging Thieves, another type of large Robber Fly, and that makes a total of six Robber Flies posted today.  We are declaring today the Day of the Robber Flies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big identity please
Location: Eastern US in Columbia md
August 9, 2014 11:15 am
Hello. Live in Columbia MD. Saw these two on my wood deck. When I took their picture they buzzed off. It’s summer here.
Signature: Thank you, Lisa

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Hi Lisa,
This is peak season for large Robber Flies like these mating Red Footed Cannibalflies.  This is the fifth posting today to our site of Robber Flies and the third for this particular species, the Red Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Dragonfly but not?
Location: Nashville
August 8, 2014 4:56 pm
I saw this strange bug in the backyard. It has a body shape like a dragon fly, but there only seem to be two small wings and the eyes and mouthparts don’t look typical for a Dragonfly. What would you say it is?
Signature: Chris

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Hi Chris,
We have been deluged with Robber Fly requests this morning, and your individual is a Red Footed Cannibalfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination