Robber Fly


I noticed this insect while out hiking.  At first appearance, it looked like a large, innocent looking fly, but after doing some research, I discovered that it is a type of Robber Fly, and innocent it is not.  Robber Flies catch flying insects such as bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies and other large flies and insects in mid-air.  Then they use their short snout (proboscis) to pierce and inject the prey with saliva laced with toxins and enzymes. This mixture paralyzes the prey and begins breaking down their innards.  The snout is then used to suck out the soupy insides.  Not a pretty picture, but I guess even Robber Flies need to eat.

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many.”  ~Plato

5 thoughts on “Robber Fly

  1. I’m quite behind here and the first post I read is the story about this mean robber fly. 🙂 Rebecca, I always learn something from your posts. That’s interesting and it reminds me a little of how a spider catches its unsuspecting prey and either wraps them in a web or proceeds to eat them. I find it gory, yet fascinating. As scared as I am of spiders, I watched a huge spider catch a fly one day, then proceed to wrap part of it, devour the rest. Yes, they have to eat too – wow. I read recently that praying mantises hide in the leaves and strike hummingbirds and devour part of them on the spot. It seems they decapitate the hummingbirds. I’ve never seen a praying mantis, but was filled with disgust at that little monster.

    • Sorry mine was the first one you read. 🙂 Nature can be a cruel place. I have read that the Robber Fly has also been known to attack hummingbirds. I never realized that hummers had these insect enemies.

      • Yes nature is cruel indeed. I lost my cute pair of gray squirrels at the house by attacks of Cooper’s Hawks this past Spring. I feel sick about it. I won’t feed any squirrels or songbirds now. I figured the hummingbirds were safe – hawks are looking for bigger prey. That’s very interesting about the Robber Flies Rebecca … my goodness that fly is not all THAT big! I never knew that hummers had insect enemies either. I signed up for a newsletter on hummers and am following a woman who owns a Wild Birds Unlimited store in Lansing, Michigan. She posts informative articles about birds every day, especially hummingbirds. I know the hummers are tiny, but to be preyed on by these insects amazes me.

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