Subject: possible robber fly
Location: Plainsboro NJ
June 9, 2017 4:54 am
The small eyes and short antenna have me thinking this is some sort of bee-mimic. I saw some pictures of robber flies that look a little like this. Can you tell me if this is correct, and maybe narrow it down to a species?
And I suspect they’re having sex; does that sound right?
Found a weekend ago: June 3.
Your request arrived on the first day of our holiday and we are currently trying to post some of the best images that arrived while we were out of the office, and that includes your image of mating Robber Flies in the genus Laphria, the Bee-Like Robber Flies. Many species in the genus look similar, but we believe your individuals might be Laphria virginica based on images posted to BugGuide where they are described as: “Easy to confuse with L. flavicollis. The main gestalt things to look for are the hairiness of the black abdomen, very fuzzy in virginica but somewhat glossy in flavicollis. The golden hair on the top of the thorax looks more swept back and finely constructed in flavicollis. And in virginica, the legs have a reddish brown tone to the fuzz in good light. –Herschel Raney, 4.v.2006.”
Thanks – I’m glad I was on the right track. I’ve gotten fairly good at recognizing some of my area’s more distinctive butterflies/dragonflies, but I have a much harder time with these guys (especially mimics).