Subject: Big yellow fly
Location: Western NC
July 17, 2016 4:56 pm
Greetings to you: I studied some entomology in college and stay fascinated with all 6 and 8 legged creatures. Today this fly was menacing like bee flies are not. It was about 4cm in length. Any idea? A robber fly maybe?
Signature: Buzz in NC
No need to reply, I know now it’s a robber fly.
Dear Buzz in NC,
We know you wrote we didn’t need to reply, but we thought you might be curious if we were able to take the identification further than the Robber Fly family. We are pretty certain this is one of the Bee-Like Robber Flies in the genus Laphria, and it looks like a pretty good match to the images of Laphria apila on BugGuide, but those images all represent a single individual from Florida. Your individual appears to have more yellow on the abdomen, but that could represent variation within the species, or it might be a different species. Your individual looks like this BugGuide image that includes this comment from Ben Coulter: “The bald thorax with long fringe of hairs on the margin reminds me of apila. I hate to suggest it without good reason, but perhaps this is one of those oft-invoked undescribed species.” Here is another BugGuide image that is unidentified, though there is some speculation it might be Laphria apila.