Thought it was Laphria macquarti
Location: San Antonio, TX
April 19, 2011 3:36 pm
I saw the 4/15 post of Laphria macquarti and thought I had a shot of it, too, but this appears to be something different. Photos were taken last August in San Antonio. No yellow third leg, and it doesn’t appear as robust. Couldn’t find anything similar on BugGuide, but it does look like Laphria. He sat still for these portraits, so he wasn’t terribly active. Any ideas?
Signature: Melvis & Laugh
Dear Melvis & Laugh,
This is a magnificent predator. You are correct that this is not Laphria macquarti. The Robber Flies in the genus Laphria are known as the Bee-Like Robber Flies and they can be distinguished from the very similar Bee Killer Robber Flies in the genus Mallophora because the latter have a hairlike terminal segment on the antennae (very evident in your photo) while the former have thick antennae. We believe you have photographed the Belzebul Bee Eater, Mallophora leschenaulti, which is also known by the less devilish common name Black Bee Killer according to Bugguide. BugGuide also notes that the Belzebul Bee Eater: “Remarkably, has been reported to attack and kill hummingbirds.” There is much interesting information on this Mallophora webpage.
We decided we really needed to post all three of your images.