Currently viewing the category: "Robber Flies"
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Subject: Fly on the Natchez Trace
Location: Franklin, Tennessee
July 4, 2016 7:37 pm
Hi bug guys,
I came across this fellow on a hike this weekend along the Natchez Trace outside of Nashville, TN. It was buzzing loudly and attempting to fly but clearly has some wing damage and is approximately 1-2in in length. The picture doesn’t capture the pretty blue coloring of it’s eyes. I have lived here for about 8yrs and have never seen this species before.
What is it?
Signature: Drew

Male Black Horse Fly

Male Black Horse Fly

Dear Drew,
This is a male Black Horse Fly,
Tabanus atratus.  While female Horse Flies will bite and suck blood, males of the species feed on nectar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: I’ve never seen this before
Location: Carbondale Il 62901
July 4, 2016 11:19 am
Hi Bugman,
Great website! I am writing because I saw this bug on my screen door today and I’m curious what it might be. It’s been raining for about 3 days here and when it flew away it kind of floated.
Signature: Ayla

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Dear Ayla,
Don’t let its floating flight fool you.  Like other large Robber Flies, this Hanging Thief in the genus
Diogmites is a formidable predator, easily taking large Wasps or Bees on the wing.  The common name Hanging Thief arises from this group’s preference to feed while hanging from a single leg.

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Wow! Thanks for the quick response and information! Keep up the good work.
Ayla M. Amadio, MA
Research Archaeologist

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: robber fly?
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
June 29, 2016 2:56 pm
I’m assuming this is a robber fly, but wondering for sure.
This photo was taken on June 29, 2016
Thanks!
Signature: Teddy Alfrey

Robber Fly with Prey

Robber Fly with Prey

Dear Teddy,
Was this a small fly?  We believe we have correctly identified it as the Robber Fly
Cerotainia albipilosa based on this and other BugGuide images and its size is listed as less than five millimeters.

Daniel,
Thanks for the quick response!
I post quite a few of my photos on Facebook and would like to ID the various bugs and plants that I find myself photographing, more and more.
Five millimeters is about right. I was thinking a little less than ¼” long, including wings.
Thanks again!!
Teddy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp? Bee?
Location: Suwanee, GA
June 21, 2016 7:58 am
This beastie was resting on my mailbox. An inch long, maybe. No visible stinger.
Signature: Anthony Trendl

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dear Anthony,
Our money is on this being a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and many members of the family mimic bees and wasps, but alas, we have not had any luck with a conclusive species identification.  The closest match we could find is
Cyrtopogon lutatius pictured on BugGuide, and we suspect your “beastie” is closely related.  We will attempt to get a second opinion on this.

Eric Eaton provides feedback:
This is more likely an Atomosia sp.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/20268
Not uncommon in the eastern U.S., though you don’t say where it is from.
Eric

Thanks … I’ll look it up. I’m near Atlanta, in a burb just northeast of it. Suburbs but I have a lot of trees as creeks nearby.
I’d love to buy a book (books) focused on the fauna of this area. Any recommendations?
Tony

Hi Tony,
Specifically regional guide books are not that common.  We recommend The Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America.  A WTB? contributor, Eric Eaton is one of the authors.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Flying Bug
Location: Maryland Eastern Shore
June 12, 2016 5:58 pm
I found this guy with a large bumblebee in its grasp. I searched extensively but got nowhere. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Nick

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Bumble Bee

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Bumble Bee

Dear Nick,
Large Robber Flies are arguably the most adept aerial predators in the insect world.  Dragonflies are larger, but they don’t tend to prey on larger insects, mainly satisfying themselves with mosquitoes and smaller prey.  Not so large Robber Flies that tend to prey on bees and wasps.  Your individual is a Red Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, a species that begins to make a regular appearance among our identification requests beginning in June, and continuing through the hot summer months.  The Red Footed Cannibalfly is also called a Bee Panther.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp, Bug, or Something Else?
Location: Anacortes, WA
June 2, 2016 7:55 pm
This pretty thing was on a stump next to my kitchen garden this morning. It was about an inch long. Can anyone identify it, please?
Signature: Lorien Shaw

Bee-Like Robber Fly

Bee-Like Robber Fly

Dear Lorien,
This is one of the predatory Bee-Like Robber Flies in the genus
Laphria, and we believe it resembles Laphria columbica which is pictured on BugGuide, but we would not rule out another species like Laphria astur which is also pictured on BugGuide, or possibly another member of the genus.  Members of the genus found in the western portions of North America are pictured on swb.usachoice.net

After quite a bit of internet research, I had strong suspicion it was likely one of the predator critters, and I’m delighted to have a more specific direction for my queries.  Thanks so much for the assistance!
Els

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination