Sunday, August 25, 2013

Robber Fly 2

Camera in hand, I was sitting on the back porch, when up flew an odd-looking fly. I sent the photograph to my local entomologist, Scott King, who identified it as a robber fly, probably Machimus notatus. This identification is based on the black, rather than yellow, tibia (the first long segment) of the hind leg. I have previously posted on robber flies, though this one looks quite different from the last.

Sometimes called assassin flies, these bugs are fierce predators, taking a wide variety of arthropods, even dragonflies. They perch on low plants and attack prey in the air. These flies stab their victims with their proboscis, and inject neurotoxins and enzymes that liquify the prey’s insides. The insides are then sucked up by the robber fly.

Robber flies are not considered to be pests, unless they are feeding on bees. They can inflict a painful bite on people who handle them. Their larvae live in rotting wood and in soil.

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