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

Subject: Red Footed Cannibalfly?
Location: Sydney, Australia
November 27, 2013 7:14 pm
Hello,
I believe this is a Red Footed Cannibalfly, after seeing similar pictures on your site! Thank you for your informative pages, I was just so curious to identify this insect when I saw it catch a bee and fly away with it!
I am in Australia, and it is summer – have never seen or heard of these before… are they common to Australia? I was wondering where they typically live/breed (trees? burrows?) and are they harmful to pets at all?
Signature: Evie.

Robber Fly with prey

Robber Fly with prey

Hi Evie,
The Red Footed Cannibalfly is a North American species of Robber Fly, and your individual is a Robber Fly as well, but a different species.  It appears that your large Robber Fly is feeding on a Honey Bee, and bees and wasps are common prey for the large Robber Flies.  Your Robber Fly resembles this
Cerdistus species pictured on the Brisbane Insect website.

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Subject: Carpenter Bee Robber Fly
Location: Johannesburg South Africa
November 21, 2013 2:47 am
I took these yesterday in my drive way.
Signature: Tiaan

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Hi Tiaan,
Thanks for sending us your photos of a Carpenter Bee Robber Fly,
Hyperechia marshalli, feeding on a Honey Bee.  They are a nice addition to our Food Chain tag.

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tiny, graceful, and apparently not a fairyfly
Location: southern California
October 25, 2013 9:19 pm
Hi again! I’ve written in a few times, and am very grateful for the identifications. I found this little flying beauty on one of my bug walks in southern California today (October 25). It is in a garden; there is a stream nearby, but not immediately proximate to this plant. The insect is about the size of a mosquito. With its long, delicate abdomen, it looked like a fairy to me when it was in flight, but as far as I can tell the term ”fairyfly” is applied to a totally different kind of insect. After spending some time unsure of where to even begin in identifying this lovely creature, I’m conceding defeat. Can you help me?
Signature: Amanda

Possibly Syrphid Fly

Robber Fly

Dear Amanda,
We really wish your photo revealed some individual features of this unusual insect.  The head and eyes look like those of a Fly in the order Diptera, and the body most closely resembles that of a wasp in the order Hymenoptera.  The fly family Syrphidae contains many individuals that mimic stinging Hymenopterans, so that is our best guess.  We were unable to find any matching images on BugGuide, but we did locate two that are somewhat similar, including
Baccha elongata and Pseudodoros clavatus.  Though they look somewhat similar, we are quite certain neither of those is your species.  The hind legs on your individual are very distinctive, which should aid in the correct identification.  We are going to contact Eric Eaton for assistance.

Possibly Syrphid Fly

Robber Fly

Update:  Bee Fly is Another Possibility
We are now entertaining the possibility that this might be a Bee Fly in the family Bombyliidae as there is a similarity to the genus
Systropus that is pictured on BugGuide.

Correction Courtesy of Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
This is actually a robber fly in the subfamily Leptogastrinae.  Most of the genera have this skinny appearance.
Eric

Thanks very much to you and Eric! I had actually briefly entertained the idea of a robber fly because of the way it was hanging, but I just thought it was much too small so I didn’t look closer at that idea. That’s great to know.

 

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Subject: Giant mosquito! (seriously!)
Location: Houston, TX
October 15, 2013 2:19 am
Walked up to my front door on the west side of Houston, TX at 3 am, and the temperature was 23°C. Heard a loud buzzing, similar to a mosquito’s (but louder). Spotted it, and watched it land on a bush, so I swatted it in the attempt to stun it. Insect is still alive in these photos, but I think I did more than stun it. Insect is flying, is almost exactly 1 inch in length, has a sucker that seemingly could be a proboscis (did not wait around to see if it bites), however it didn’t seem to have any interest in biting me.
Thanks for your time, and I hope I haven’t discovered a mutant mosquito.
Signature: Hunter Mallette

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dear Hunter,
This is a predatory Robber Fly in the subfamily Dasypogoninae which contains the Hanging Thieves in the genus
Diogmites as well as other similar looking genera.  Hanging Thieves get their name because they often hang from a single leg while feeding.  It looks somewhat like this Diogmites angustipennis pictured on BugGuide.

Daniel,
Thank you for your time and insight. I’m always finding interesting bugs and have the hardest time identifying them. You’ve saved me a great deal of frustration, and satisfied my curiosity.
Thank you,
Hunter

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s happening here?
Location: Houston area, Texas
September 28, 2013 1:00 pm
I walked around these bugs in our river birch sapling for 10 minutes, trying to get my camera to focus on the right thing and also to figure out what was going on — if they were mating, or if one was getting eaten.
They were both about an inch and a half long. One appeared solid black with very hairy legs. The other, looking at the photo now, appears to be black and yellow.
Is the black one squeezing the other so hard it’s innards have come out?
They stayed where they were for about 5 minutes until I ventured too close, at which time the black one flew off, carrying the other one with it.
Signature: Jayne

Robber Fly eats Prey

Robber Fly eats Prey

Hi Jayne,
This is a nice photo for our Food Chain tag.  The predator is a Robber Fly, most likely a Bee Killer in the genus
Mallophora, possibly a Belzebul Bee Eater.  We cannot identify the prey from your photo, but it does not appear to be a bee or wasp which frequently fall prey to large Robber Flies.

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Subject: Pidgeon Horntail?
Location: Stone Mountain, GA
September 23, 2013 6:38 pm
Found this on the driveway. All of the pics that I have seen of this look similar but this is more cone shaped and the legs look furrier?
Signature: karen

What Killed the Red Footed Cannibalfly???

What Killed the Red Footed Cannibalfly???

Hi Karen,
This is a large, predatory Robber Fly, most likely a Red Footed Cannibalfly.  We can’t help but wonder why there is a severed leg in the upper left corner of the photo, so we are wondering What Killed the Red Footed Cannibalfly???  The Red Footed Cannibalfly is our featured Bug of the Month for September 2013.

September 27, 2013 3:09 pm
I am not sure what happened to the poor bug.. We found it on the driveway in that condition. Thanks for letting me know what it was, I didn’t think it was a pigeon horn tail….thanks again.
Signature: Karen

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination