Shhh, Be very, very quiet ...
I'm hunting ... Whoa!
What was that?
That guy is definitely speeding.
Look at her! Suddenly, I'm not so interested in hunting anymore ...
I think I'm in love ...
Yup, ... I'm definitely in love ...
...or, possibly just lust.
Both the bee mimics above and the "normal' guy (gal?) below are robber flies. Apparently they come in a variety of forms.
Robber flies are beneficial insects who eat alot of the bugs we humans deem "bad". They are not above eating "good" insects like dragonflies or pretty butterflies however.
They all taste good ... to a robber fly.
If you ever grab a robber fly you may decide he's a bad bug ... after he bites the tar out of you. Once was enough for me ... I don't grab them anymore.
(Perhaps someday a post of "Things That Have Bit or Stung Me" might be appropriate)
Around here, I see alot of the type below on my blueberry plant. The bee mimics above are definitely a rarer find, but that may just be that I was not in the right place at the right time.
I certainly was a few days ago.
The damp bottom of my dried up pond is covered in a carpet of dollarweed and other low growers and their flowers were attracting a host of pretty cool insects. There were actually dozens of these bee mimic robber flies zipping about.
I watched this guy suddenly zip and snatch that girl robber fly in mid air. They tumbled down into the pennywort, which I parted to see what the heck was going on ... okay, I KNEW what was going on and I was determined to photograph it.
I was hoping to ID these at the University of Florida's IFAS website, but the photography there is pretty sad.
A dedicated robber fly website had clearer photos ... of dead pinned robber flies against a sterile background.
BugGuide was the most helpful website. I think the bee mimic is Laphria sp. It seems to have no specific common name ... which is pretty weird.
I'll probably stick with "sort 'a bee-lookin' robber fly" and "regular robber fly", but that's just me.
I won't be sticking any pins in mine however.
I'll just let them bee ...