Currently viewing the category: "Robber Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Impressive killer
Location: California, ky. 20 minutes south of cincinnati
August 14, 2016 6:42 pm
Hello, I found a photo of the insect in question on the Internet and it directed me to your page. I couldn’t find the image I saw on your web site, so I am contacting you. This insect was flying around with a horse fly in its grips and eventually landed on me…. Then on one of my banana trees, where he rested for at least a half hour (see pic). You are welcome to use my images on your web site as they are quite interesting.
Signature: Thanks, Tony Painter

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

Dear Tony,
This impressive predator is a Giant Robber Fly known as a Red Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, and they are adept hunters who can take very large prey on the wing.  There is even a report on the Hilton Pond Center website of a Red Footed Cannibalfly catching a hummingbird.  We believe the prey in your awesome images is Tabanus americanus, because of the red antennae.  Can you confirm that the Horse Fly has green eyes?  They are not readily visibly green in your images.  We are very impressed that you were able to walk around this awesome Food Chain encounter to get images from both sides.  As an aside, we had never heard of California, Kentucky, and we learned that as of the 2014 census, your sity has a population of 87.

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Horsefly…ish???
Location: Raleigh, NC
August 11, 2016 8:09 pm
Hi,
I’ve attached a photo (that I promise I took) of an insect in Raleigh, NC in June. It stands about an inch tall and is a little more than an inch long. I’m working on a “Critter Album” for my little girls, and I’m trying my best to ID all that I can. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Signature: Sam the inquisitive dad

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Dear San the inquisitive dad,
Your Critter Album sounds like an awesome way to educate your girls about the wonders of the natural world.  This is a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites.  They are commonly called Hanging Thieves because they frequently hang from one leg while feeding on prey.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beautiful bug
Location: Bradenton, Florida
August 6, 2016 1:07 pm
About 1 inch long.
Signature: Kathleen

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Dear Kathleen,
This Robber Fly is commonly called a Hanging Thief because of their habit of hanging from one leg while devouring prey they have captured on the wing.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this eating another bug?
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, usa
August 5, 2016 5:44 pm
Looked like a fat bodie dragonfly but with spiky legs. About two inches long. Eating what looked like a bee. Little furry.
Signature: tittyj

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Honey Bee

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Honey Bee

Dear tittyj,
We are pretty certain your predator is a Robber Fly known as a Red Footed Cannibalfly, and the prey appears to be a Honey Bee.  The tip of the abdomen indicates this individual is a male.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unknown insect
Location: Central Illinois
July 31, 2016 1:36 pm
We live in central Illinois and have seen this insect from time to time, but we do not know what it is. I hope you can identify it for us. Thank you.
Signature: Marsha Nelson

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Hi Marsha,
This Robber Fly is commonly called a Hanging Thief because they frequently eat their prey while hanging from one leg.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Asilidae feeling threatened by scent?
August 4, 2016 1:36 am
Just this morning, I went running down at Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon Texas.  The entire run (2.2 miles), I experienced aggressive behavior from Robber Flies (Asilidae). They literally preyed on me the entire run, consistently going for my legs and hair.
I can’t tell if the aggressive behavior was from me running or from the new Tea Tree shampoo that I just started using. I go on runs all the time in Palo Duro and never before have experienced this. Perhaps the behavior wasn’t aggressive, still this is new territory.
My real question is, has all this branched out from me switching to this new shampoo? I look forward to hearing back from y’all.
Signature: Samuel  Tenny

Courting Belzebul Bee Eaters (from our archives)

Courting Belzebul Bee Eaters (from our archives)

Dear Samuel,
We wish you had sent an image to illustrate your query as it would make our response more definitive.  Lacking an image, we have taken an image from our archives of Courting Belzebul Bee Eaters,
Mallophora leschenaulti, a large species of Robber Fly found in Texas, to illustrate the posting.  Texas has many large, predatory Robber Flies and we could easily have chosen the magnificent Heteropogon patruelis, also from our archives, as the illustration.  Robber Flies do not normally exhibit aggressive behavior towards humans, so we have our doubts that members of the family Asilidae are the culprits.  We would tend to favor blood-sucking Horse Flies, which can also get quite large, and which may have not had any nearby livestock or deer upon which to feed, causing them to turn their attention to the nearest large, warm-blooded meal they encountered, namely you.  We say this from experience since our editorial staff was chased by large Horse Flies back in our youth in Ohio, and they even landed on the hood and windshield of the car once we had taken shelter.  Please look at some images of Horse Flies and get back to us if you think our suspicions are correct.  With that said, chemicals in shampoo, as well as scents in colognes, perfumes and antiperspirants, have been reported to attract bees and wasps, so that is a distinct possibility that they might attract Robber Flies as well.  If the shampoo is the cause, we would also question why your aggressive flies were targeting your legs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination