Cicada killer?
Location: Doylestown PA/ Stephens City VA
August 10, 2011 6:31 am
I have what I believe are cicada killer wasps living in my backyard:dirt mounds with tunnels, siting of very large(3 inches) insect like the one in the photo going into said mound. Meanwhile, my neice in VA took a pic that looks exactly like the critter I saw going into the mounds.My questions are: is this a photo on a cicada killer female, and what is going on in this photo?
Signature: Deb Kerns

Red Footed Cannibalfly dines on Paper Wasp

Hi Deb,
The behavior you describe is consistent with that of Cicada Killers, however, the predator in the attached photo is a Robber Fly known as a Red Footed Cannibalfly.  It is feeding on a Paper Wasp.  Red Footed Cannibalflies would not be building underground nests, so despite the striped abdomen, if you compare this predator with this Cicada Killer image from our archives, you will see the apparent differences between the two insects.  The Cicada Killer is a much more robust insect.  Not having a photo in front of you and trusting your memory might be creating a false similarity between the two species.

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Location: Virginia

4 Responses to Red Footed Cannibalfly dines on Paper Wasp

  1. Hansel Hanthorn says:

    I recently observed one of these flies land on my porch railing here on Vancouver Island BC. I thought it was a massive horse fly, then it flew off the railing and snatched a yellow jacket in mid air and returned to the railing to devour it. Blew my mind.

    • bugman says:

      Watching a large Robber Fly, especially an impressive one like the Red Footed Cannibalfly or a Belzebul Bee Eater,taking a large wasp on the wing must be one of the most impressive examples of insect predation we can think, surpassed only possibly by a hunting Tarantula Hawk.

  2. Geoff says:

    How do i post a pic to be ided

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