Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Robberfly Romance

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 ...


Anonymous said...

I'll go check out the Bug Guide. There's a wasp hovering around our front yard that we can't identify. Thanks for the link.

Great photos, too!

Anonymous said...

thay remind me of deer flys and horse flys. yes thay also bite repeatley. OUCH. S T E B

Miz S said...

It's nice to know that even the humble flies are enjoying a little summer romance.

As usual, I bow to your photography skills.

Freste said...

That last one just sure can create a good case of the heebie jeebies. I jumped back, yelped a little, rolled over the cat's tail, knocked over my cup of lukewarm coffee which spilled on the startled cat who swiftly climbed up my leg, back and neck with things that look like this critters sniffer. Not a bugophobe but man, that thing looks alien.
(puts on body armour again).

Rurality said...

Wow, the green eyes on that guy!

Am I a masochist if I say I'd like to see a "Things That Have Bit or Stung Me" post? :)

Dani said...

That last one is so neat looking!!

Susan Humeston said...

OMG - the Robber Fly looks like he has Groucho Marx glasses and mustache on! I've used the following site:

I've sent pictures to them before where I needed an ID.

Anonymous said...

More good pics. Maybe I'll be ready if the little foxy comes back. What's all that about? FC don't do salmon or avacado. Man that's some good stuff. I would guess you've tried stranger stuff.
Bro J

Doug Taron said...

Great post. One of the conspicuous species around here also has vivid green eyes, though I think it's a different species from yours. I really like the photography of the bee mimic. May I link to this post for the upcoming Circus of the Spineless?

who wouda thunk it?? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
who wouda thunk it?? said...

OK I'm impressed. very spooky looking green-eyed monster you got there

who wouda thunk it?? said...

hey, I looked up your bug and I think you have a type of robber fly called a "hanging thief" go look;

Islagringo said...

You know your photos are good, we are in awe of them constantly. It just strikes as me as sad, but evidently necessary for some reason, that your photos all have a watermark on them now. Completely ruined the speeding bug pic for me.

Sad that we live in a world that even a picture is safe from theft.

R.Powers said...

Good luck on your wasp... there must be a zillion kinds.

Difference is these guys only bite if you grab and hold them.

Miz S,
I bow to your pie making skills.

Why does coffee next to a computer always go lukewarm so fast?

I think you might be a sadist since it would be my pain not yours.

Thanks! Including him was an afterthought, but he seems to be the one getting the comments.

Thanks for that link. I'll check it out.

Not stranger than your bro eats.

Yes, link away! Glad you liked this one. I have some other insect shots taken the same day that I will post eventually.

Welcome to Pure Florida!
Thanks for the link and for commenting!

I have 3 children to get through college and occasionally my photos are good enough or unique enough to warrant protection for future commercial use.
I tried to make the WM as transparent as possible on most of these so it would not be too much of an intrusion.
Sorry if it bugged you.

Anonymous said...

Those bee mimics are off the chain. Gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Great post and photos. I agree about protecting your photos. I didn't do much of that before, but have been doing more of it recently after finding my photos being used in weird ways without my permission. grrrh!!

Anonymous said...

Your first robber is Mallophora orcina (or Southern Bee-killer) - a very impressive robberfly that resembles Laphria though isn't. Your other one is a Diogmites - these can be tricky to ID to species. The pattern on the dorsum of the thorax is most helpful.

Great photos.

Amila Salgado said...

Great post! At least you have several helpful Bug sites to identify yours. We are handicapped by the lack of printed and online material for our ones.