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

Subject: Dragonfly relative / nymph?
Location: Austin, Texas
June 19, 2014 2:21 pm
I spotted this flying insect on a purple coneflower near an area with man-made ponds and lots of dragonflies, turtles and fish. When the insect flew away, there was a buzzing sound.
Signature: Susan

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Our automated Response:  Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

Hi. I actually figured out (after much research) that the photo I submitted was of a robber fly (aka assassin fly), Asilidae…and further narrowed it down to a variety of Diogmites. I can’t seem to take it any further, as I haven’t seen any of these with abdomens as long as the one in my photo.

Hi Susan,
We were away from the office when you wrote, and we are trying to catch up on old mail, posting some of the more interesting images we received in our absence, including yours.  Your identification is only partially correct.  While this is a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, it is not a Hanging Thief in the genus
Diogmites.  It is a Red Footed Cannibalfly, Promachus rufipes, and you can compare your excellent image to the images posted to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Dragonfly…?
Location: North Cyprus
May 25, 2014 2:44 am
Hi, Guys,
I wonder if you would help me to identify this beastie, which I found munching on a fly on my bougainvillea this morning (25 May). I’ve spent hours searching through the internet, but have failed to identify what I assume is some kind of dragonfly..? I live in Northern Cyprus, in an area bounded by sea on one side and rural maquis, and farmland on the other. I’ve not seen one in the garden before, and whilst I have a pool, this is stringently patrolled by a very territorial ruddy darter. Any help would be much appreciated!
Signature: Jane

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Hi Jane,
This is a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and like the unrelated Dragonfly, it is an adept hunter capable of taking large prey on the wing.  Your individual looks very similar to this
Promachus species sighted on Cyprus that is posted to Nature Wonders.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identification
Location: Ghanzi, Botswana, Africa
May 20, 2014 5:19 am
Good day,
I wish to inquire on the name of this insect.
Regards
Alan
Signature: This bug is…

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dear Alan,
This impressive predator is a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae.  Many large Robber Flies mimic bees, and this individual appears to be a good bee mimic.  Large Robber Flies are able to prey upon hornets and wasps and other large flying insects, and they are very adept at taking prey on the wing.  We will attempt to identify your Robber Fly to the species level.  We located a very similar looking Robber Fly on iSpot, but it is not identified.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what’s this bug
Location: 1 hr north of Houston TX
April 29, 2014 6:17 pm
I only got one pic of this bug before it flew away, so it can fly. It has a very unique marking on the top of the thorax, huge eyes. Looks like a digging or stabbing beak. Hairy legs. this bug is between 1 1/2 and 2 inches long.
Signature: I don’t know the answer

Robber Fly:  Laphria saffrana

Robber Fly: Laphria saffrana

And we are very happy you managed to get that one photo.  This is a Bee-Like Robber Fly, Laphria saffrana.  We identified this magnificent predator on BugGuide where it states:  “Bromley (1934) considered this species to be a mimic of the queen of the southern yellowjacket, Vespula squamosa.”  Laphria saffrana is also represented on iNaturalist.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A Dragonfly of some sort?
Location: South Central Pennsylvania
March 16, 2014 7:38 pm
I took this photo in my yard last summer. I cannot find any photos anywhere that look similar.
I never saw one before. Hoping you can help to identify it.
Signature: Karen

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Hi Karen,
Though this is a highly off season posting, we are nonetheless thrilled to post your spectacular image of one of the most adept insect predators in North America, the Red Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, a species of Giant Robber Fly.  Your individual appears to be feeding on a Wasp.  According to BugGuide:  “Preys on large flying insects. Has been reported to attack Ruby-throated Hummingbirds” with a link to Hilton Pond.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Bug rural new south wales
Location: New South Wales, australia
January 30, 2014 6:43 pm
Hi there
Have been seeing in increase in strange insects over the course of this summer. found this one on our porch this morning. Unable to find anything online that looks close to this little fellow. He made a buzzing sound when he flew and didn’t fly in a straight line, more like a zigzag motion. he seemed curious about me and landed on my shirt before flying off but didn’t display any aggressive behavior.
Its the middle of summer here and extremely hot in a rural setting of new south wales, Australia.
any help would identifying him be appreciated.
Signature: Belinda

Robber Fly:  Blepharotes species

Robber Fly: Blepharotes species

Hi Belinda,
Your email did not include any details regarding the size of this impressive Robber Fly in the genus
Blepharotes.  We wish your photo showed the color of the abdomen.  We have several examples on our site of Blepharotes coriarius, the Giant Yellow Robber Fly.  Max Campbell’s website states:  “This is the only specimen I’ve seen. I’ve borrowed ‘Australian Insects’ by Keith McKeown, from the library. Fortunately it has a good (black and white) water colour rendition of the fly and describes it thus:  ‘The finest of all the Australian Asilidae. A very large black fly with the upper surface of its broad abdomen bright orange and tufted along the sides with patches of black and white hairs. The face is densely bearded. The wings are a rich smoky brown.  It is rather a common insect in inland districts, especially in the Riverina, where it rests on fence posts and tree trunks in the hot sunshine. It flies away with a loud buzz when disturbed, often bearing away its impaled prey.'”  We wouldn’t want to rule out that it might be Blepharotes splendissimus which has a dark abdomen and is pictured on DKImages.  Did you get a look at the abdomen?   

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination