Huge Orange Robber Fly
I know you’re swamped, but check out these shots of some kind of large orange robber fly! I’m doing fieldwork in burned forest areas of interior BC and came across this critter one morning on a burned Douglas Fir trunk. I think you can see pupa cases in one of the photos, too… it must have recently emerged. Sadly there’s nothing to indicate scale but I’d say the fly was 2.5-3.5 cm in length. What IS it?!
We believe this is one of the Bee-Like Robber Flies in the genus Laphria. We have eliminated the Bee Killer genus Mallophora thanks to this explanation on BugGuide posted by Herschel Raney: “Mallophora Have the very slim antenna tips. Laphria all have the blunted tapered tips.” Your specimen has the blunt tapered antennae. The closest match we can find is Laphria fernaldi, but we would love to get a more expert opinion.
Eric Eaton sent me. His email is glitching. This concerns the Laphria photo from BC with the golden hair and the silver legs. (Now on your robber page.) It is one of the species that Bullington moved out of Laphria proper in his dissertation which has never been published. So we cannot use the other genera names. Dr. Cannings would like to email the shooter about her shot if you can get me the email. Comments from Dr. Rob Cannings in BC. “I’m pretty certain it’s Laphria sackeni Wilcox (apical palp hairs look golden, not black), a widespread Cordilleran species… BC interior and coast north to Alaska…south to California and Colorado. Likes open areas in conifer forests (logged and burned sites) and, like other Laphria species, develops in dead wood.”