Large Australian Mystery Fly: Giant Yellow Robber Fly

Fly found in Australia
Hi Bugman,
a friend of mine saw this fly and thinking of my entomology studies and insect collection he tried to catch it for me… he wasn’t sure what it was, and thinking that it may sting him, he hit it with a cloth and killed it (sigh). As you can see from the photo the thorax is very damaged but the rest of the body remains intact. I am stumped with it’s identification however as I believe it’s in the suborder Brachycera, Family Pantophthalmide. I have attached a photo and link of a Pantophthalmus sp. that I believe to be similar to this specimen. As far as I have found this family is located only in mid-to-south America (Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rico…) and am unable to research further as I can’t speak/read the language. Am I right in identification or way of the mark??? I am located in the mid-coast of the state New South Wales, Australia. It is generally a temperate climate where this specimen was found – not the neotropcial climate that the Pantophthalmide are said to reside. Any help would be greatly appreciated,
Pantophthalmus photo:

Hi Elysha,
We need to bring in some big guns for this one. We are starting by correcting the spelling on the family in question and adding the missing “a” to Pantophthalmidae. We found a UC Riverside “Bug Spotlight” page on the family Pantophthalmidae that was written by Doug Yanega and we have contacted him to try to get his expert opinion. We will also contact Eric Eaton who frequently assists us in identifications. Meanwhile we are posting you image and waiting for our readership (yes that is you Grev) to comment.

Update: (01/06/2007) Large Australian Mystery Fly
Hi Daniel,
Have a look at this site (especially the last photo) What do you reckon?

Hi Grev,
It looks like you have nailed the identification to a large Robber Fly, Blepharotes coriarius. The website you located included the following information: “This is the only specimen I’ve seen. I’ve borrowed “Australian Insects” by Keith McKeown, from the library. Fortunately it has a good (black and white) water colour rendition of the fly and describes it thus: ‘The finest of all the Australian Asilidae. A very large black fly with the upper surface of its broad abdomen bright orange and tufted along the sides with patches of black and white hairs. The face is densely bearded. The wings are a rich smoky brown. It is rather a common insect in inland districts, especially in the Riverina, where it rests on fence posts and tree trunks in the hot sunshine. It flies away with a loud buzz when disturbed, often bearing away its impaled prey.’ “

Thanks so much for your help Daniel and Grev,
The photo with the “wings folded flat in line with the abdomen” makes it look exactly like a robber fly… I wonder if my specimen wasn’t so mangled if I would have recognized this? Well done guys! Cheers,

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