Subject: Robber fly?
Location: Lat. 48.372 Long. 123.538
June 24, 2017 9:14 am
Thank you again for this great site!
Here’s a guy my Dad caught in the house yesterday. At first we thought it was a bumble bee, but your site helped me determine that it is likely a fly.
Would you kindly check these photos out, please.
We let it go. It seemed fine after its stay in the glass for inspection! We are still at Lat. 48.372 Long. 123.538, southern Vancouver Island, Metchosin, William Head Road.
Thank you so much for your help!!!!
Signature: Sue Hughes
Your images of a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus Laphria are spectacular, and we are especially excited that they nicely reveal the red-tipped abdomen. Bee-Like Robber Flies are predators and these larger Robber Flies prey upon stinging insects like bees and wasps. It is believed they mimic their prey, both for protection from other predators who might be off put by the thought of trying to eat a stinging insect, and because they are able to more closely approach prey before alarming a potential meal. This species seems to have adapted to mimic your locally common red-tailed Tri-Colored Bumble Bee which according to BugGuide should not be called a Red Tailed Bumble Bee because: “Red-tailed Bumble Bee (not recommended, as it also refers to Bombus lapidarius, a Eurasian species).” We believe we have correctly identified your Robber Fly as Laphria asturina on BugGuide, but alas, it has no common name. You might consider posting your images to BugGuide as they only have two examples, and we do believe your images are better for identification purposes. We also located an image of a living individual and its meal on PICSSR (warning: adult ad content on this link).
Thank you very much for help with our latest bug adventure!
I will send the images to BugGuide on your say-so, if I can figure out how to do it.
You have made our day!!