What is this bug?
Location: Sacramento, California
October 1, 2011 4:16 pm
I saw this in my yard. I smashed it because it had what looked like a stinger.
As it died the stinger was going in and out. Ick. What is it?
Signature: Moorea

Robber Fly

Dear Moorea,
Robber Flies are harmless, beneficial predators, and smashing them constitutes Unnecessary Carnage in our minds.  We believe this may be a member of the genus
Andrenosoma based on photos posted to BugGuide.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is probably the ovipositor, the organ the female uses to lay eggs.

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Location: California

5 Responses to Unnecessary Carnage: Smashed Robber Fly

  1. Jim Harrison says:

    People mistake ovipositors for stingers so often it might be worthwhile to point out that the stingers of bees and wasps evolved from ovipositors, which is why, incidentally, male insects don’t have stingers.

    • bugman says:

      Hi Jim,
      Thank you for providing this information for this posting. We have that information posted elsewhere on our web site, but it is impossible for us to include every bit of information in every posting. We really appreciate you comment.

  2. Darryl says:

    Don’t you wish that were true? Bee colonies typically have one female, the queen. The females mate then go and start their own nest elsewhere when they reach maturity. The male drones and soldiers are the ones which have stingers as the females have no use for one where they will be spending their entire time inside of the nest laying eggs. The same goes for ants and many other insects.

  3. DandyDoe says:


    Sorry to tell you this but you are 100% wrong. You see in the insect worlds it is the female that have weapons or cause harm, such as mosquitoes, bees, wasps, etc and the males are completely harmless that also include bees, wasps and so on. Male bees have no stingers what so ever…since after they mate and fulfilled that role they are distant to die. The female bees are the worker bees and they have stingers as they go outside and pollinate from flower to flower and they need a form of protection. At birth there will be two queen bees that will fight to the death..the one that survives the battle take her leadership to the colony and send a special hormone that prevent other female bees from making babies as ONLY her is the queen and only HER that will make the colony and only HER will make babies. If any of the female work bees get cut laying her own egg…it will be send to destruction immediately (her eggs) and the the bee that laid it herself will be executed.

    In all insect worlds it is the female with the singer and not the male. In the insect world it is the female mosquito that transmit diseases and suck blood and not the male and in the bird kingdom it is a matriarchal world and not a patriarchal world…which is why all male birds are either super beautiful or have to dance and do things to convince the female bird to mate with him. Look at the rooster. He is beautiful. The chicken is boring. The list goes on.

    • bugman says:

      Thank you so much for catching that we never commented or corrected this comment. You are absolutely correct and your comment is greatly appreciated.

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