Robber Fly from the Congo

Flying spider from the congo?
Location: Congo
February 11, 2011 3:41 pm
My friend who is in the Congo took this picture this week. Here’s her description:
Saw the most amazing and bizarre bug a few days ago. No one seems to have a clue what it is. Anyone out there feel like finding the answer? It was about 1.5-2 inches, flies like a bumble bee, looks like part fly, part tarantula, part exotic, part scary.
Signature: David Guralnick

Robber Fly

Dear David,
This fantastic creature is a Robber Fly, but we are uncertain of the species.  We don’t believe there is much online information to help identify this Robber Fly.  Robber Flies are predators and this individual looks very much like some North American Robber Flies in the genus
Laphria, the Bee-Like Robber Flies.  You can see some North American examples on BugGuide.

Cool, thank you for your response.  Is it strange that, considering how many different types of Robber Flies there are, that one from North America would look so much like one in Africa?
David Guralnick

Karl supplies some information
Re: Robber Fly from the Congo – February 11, 2011
Hi Daniel and David:
I believe that your spectacular Robber Fly belongs to the genus Hyperechia. Members of this genus mimic the large Carpenter Bees in the genus Xylocopa and the larvae feed on the bee larvae. It is thought that the Robber Fly disguise enables them to get close enough to lay their eggs inside the bee’s nesting burrows. There are a number of African species but based on a key to the genus Hyperechia (in Oldroyd 1970. Studies of African Asilidae (Diptera) i. Asilidae of the Congo basin) this one is likely H. floccose. I think this genus has appeared on WTB? at least once before, in a posting by Robert (danielj), Unknown Robber Fly from Tanzania, August 16, 2008. Robert’s Robber Fly looks like it could be H. marshalli, or perhaps H. bifasciata. Regards.  Karl

Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

Leave a Comment