Currently viewing the category: "Robber Flies"
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Subject: What’s This Bug?
Location: Central Alabama
September 12, 2015 3:43 pm
I’m in central Alabama and saw this amazing bug today and would love to know his name. I have photos to help with the I.D.
He was about 1 1/4 inch long. Two black compound eyes. Four brown and black hairy legs. A proboscis, and a stinger-like projectile from his rear end. A segmented thorax. He had a medium to light brown body.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Signature: Barbara Bryan

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Dear Barbara,
We really love posting images of Red Footed Cannibalflies, a predatory Robber Fly found in the eastern U.S. that appears from mid to late summer.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: My morning mailbox surprise
Location: Dayton, OH
September 3, 2015 5:47 am
Good morning! Today, this little guy was waiting to ask me how badly I really wanted to check the mail today. He hung around long enough for me to get a couple of pictures, did an impressive flyby in the general direction of my face, and took off.
I don’t know if it’s at all relevant, but there was also a large house centipede behind the mailbox, which was another first.
Signature: Amorette

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Dear Amorette,
We don’t believe there is any connection between the House Centipede and the Hanging Thief, a large predatory Robber Fly.  Hanging Thieves, though predators, tend to take prey on the wing and House Centipedes would not be part of their diet.  They often feed while dangling from a single leg, hence the common name Hanging Thief.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: insects mating
Location: knoxville tn
September 3, 2015 4:26 pm
Just wondering if you have any idea of what these bugs are that appear to be mating in my back yard?
Signature: a meredith

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Dear a meredith,
Thanks to the window glass, you were able to provide us with a thrilling ventral view of a pair of mating Red Footed Cannibalflies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Robber fly?
Location: Harpers Ferry, WV
August 28, 2015 6:54 am
Came across this beauty while on my morning walk. I think it’s some sort of robber fly? He/she was quite large (the reason it caught my eye) and not interested in moving even when I brushed it with a blade of grass. It was early morning so maybe still sleepy? Anyway, I’d love to know what to call it the next time I see one.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Barb

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Dear Barb,
Your Robber Fly looks like a Red Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, to us.  We generally get several identification requests for this magnificent predator each summer.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Parasitic fuzzy black bee?
Location: San Antonio, TX
August 27, 2015 1:01 pm
Hello,
I hope this letter finds you well. I was in my back yard yesterday afternoon, in san antonio, TX, when I stumbled across a large, fuzzy, black, winged insect. It looks almost like a bee and had a large wasp under it. I was thinking a parasite of some sort? Thanks for your help!
Signature: – T

Belzebul Bee Eater

Belzebul Bee Eater

Dear T,
We want to begin by correcting your terminology.  A parasite lives in or on the body of a host creature, feeding on blood or other forms of nutrition that the body can offer.  A parasitoid is all of the above, but it also kills the host while feeding.  A predator catches and eats prey, and your image is of a predatory Robber Fly, the Belzebul Bee Eater,
Mallophora leschenaulti, but we are uncertain of the identity of the prey as your image is lacking in critical detail.

Thank you kindly for the clarification.  Are you quite sure that my image depicts the Mallophora leschenaulti?  It is just that I don’t recall seeing the white band across the it’s body.  They look a little different to me.  Thank you again for your time!
-T

We would need a better quality image to be more certain, but as there are only five members of the genus in North America, and since the others have more prominent yellow markings, we gave the identification our best guess.  High resolution, properly focused images from multiple angles are always preferred for identification purposes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Assassin bug?
Location: Beavercreek, OH
August 24, 2015 3:18 am
This bug landed at our table at our local pool. It was carrying a bee & sat there for a few minutes with it’s stinger in the bees head feeding on it.
Signature: Kerry

Hanging Thief eats Robber Fly

Hanging Thief eats Robber Fly

Dear Kerry,
This is not an Assassin Bug.  It is a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, a group known as the Hanging Thieves because they often hang from one leg while feeding.  They take prey on the wing, and this unfortunate Honey Bee stood no chance against such a formidable predator.  While Hanging Thieves and other Robber Flies are considered beneficial predators, they do not distinguish between eating beneficial pollinators and agricultural nuisance insects.  The mouth of the Hanging Thief is adapted to pierce and suck fluids from the body of the prey.  Hanging Thieves do not sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination