Subject: Big fly?
Location: corinth, tx
August 12, 2014 6:23 pm
I was . walking the dog and solve this bug eating a looked like it was about one and a half to 2 inches long. I have never seen one and I wanted to know what it was.
Signature: Larry L.

Robber Fly eats Cicada

Robber Fly eats Cicada

Dear Larry,
This is some species of Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and it is not a species we immediately recognize, so we are going to have to research its identity.  It is indeed eating a Cicada.  Robber Flies are highly specialized predators that are very adept at taking large prey on the wing.  Texas and Arizona both have unusual, not commonly seen Robber Flies that are not found elsewhere in the U.S., though the ranges of those species frequently extend into Mexico.  We believe that based on this image from BugGuide, it may be
Microstylum morosum.  According to Beetles in the Bush, this is “North America’s largest robber fly” and “Until recently, Microstylum morosum was considered a Texas-endemic.  However, Beckemeyer and Carlton (2000) documented this species to be much more broadly distributed in the southern Great Plains (from Texas up into Oklahoma and Kansas and west into New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado), and Warriner (2004) recorded it shortly afterwards in Arkansas.”  We wrote to Eric Eaton to see if he agrees with our identification.

Eric Eaton concurs
I would agree.  Seems to be a pretty distinctive species.

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Location: Corinth, Texas

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