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

Subject: Flying fly eater
Location: Central Connecticut
August 1, 2016 10:42 am
Saw this guy on a fencepost in central Connecticut. Curious about the ID. Thanks
Signature: Bug watcher

Robber Fly eats Blow Fly

Robber Fly eats Blow Fly

Dear Bug Watcher,
The predator in your image is a Robber Fly, but we are not certain of the genus.  We will attempt to research its identity further.  The prey appears to be a Blow Fly, perhaps a Green Bottle Fly or some other member of the genus
Lucilia, a group that is well documented on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this creature?
Location: Huntsville Alabama, outskirts of city
July 24, 2016 5:46 pm
Hi
I live in Huntsville Alabama and saw these insects on the railing of my deck. Never seen this creature before. Any id assistance would be appreciated! It’s been close to 100 degrees here, has now cooled off for the evening to about 80-85.
Signature: Carolyn Sanders

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Dear Carolyn,
We have a few images in our archive of mating Red Footed Cannibalflies,
Promachus rufipes, a large impressive species of predatory Robber Flies, but nothing comes close to your amazing images.  It looks like you were several inches away.  Though they are not aggressive toward humans, Red Footed Cannibalflies look quite frightening, so we applaud your courage in securing these awesome images.  We are also quite impressed the amorous pair did not fly away when you got close.  Though not aggressive toward humans, Red Footed Cannibalflies are able to take down very large prey, including stinging wasps and bees, on the wing, and we have read on Hilton Pond Center that a large Robber Fly can even prey upon a hummingbird.  We would also caution against trying to handle a living Red Footed Cannibalfly with bare hands as that would most likely result in a painful bite.

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

Mating Red Footed Cannibalflies

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identification request
Location: Iola, KS
July 17, 2016 9:59 am
Hi! I encountered this strange insect on my front porch yesterday and I don’t think I have ever seen anything like it before. It looks almost like some weird kind of mosquito/wasp cross to me. My aunt suggested that it might be a pregnant deer fly, but it doesn’t match up with the pictures I’m finding online. I was hoping maybe you could help me find out what it was?
Signature: Gary Reeder II

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Dear Gary,
This is a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, a group known as the Hanging Thieves

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Help what’s this bug
Location: Sherman, tx
July 18, 2016 4:38 pm
This creepy critter landed on my car, I live in Sherman Texas.
Signature: Kristi

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Dear Kristi,
This formidable predator is a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, a group known collectively as Hanging Thieves.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What killed this wasp!?
Location: Cincinnati
July 18, 2016 3:24 pm
The other day my girlfriend saw this larger mosquito looking thing on her chair. And then today we saw it take down a full grown wasp! We want to know if we have been brought a savior, or will it kill my family in my sleep?
Signature: Billy Yeager

Hanging Thief eats Paper Wasp

Hanging Thief eats Wasp

Dear Billy,
The predator in your image is a Hanging Thief, a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, and it is easy to see where they got their common name by looking at your image.  Thief is a synonym for the family name Robber and the members of the genus Diogmites frequently feed while hanging from a single front leg.  Large Robber Flies are impressive predators that hunt on the wing, and BugGuide describes the diet of the Hanging Thieves as eating “insects (often larger than themselves), mostly aculeate Hymenoptera, but also Odonata and Diptera (incl. members of the same species).”  The stinging insects in the order Hanging Thieves feed upon include wasps as in your image and bees. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.
Thanks!

Robber Fly

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination