Robber Fly

The other day while out getting some pics of Grasshoppers I came across this interesting little predator - the aptly named 'Robber Fly'.

Asilidae [the boffin name for this family of insects], are really quite something. Moustachioed hunters of other small creatures they will take on dragonflies, bees and even wasps - virtually anything that they can overpower and eat.

They like to hunt in the heat of the day - usually in bright sunlight, which I imagine gives them some advantage over other insects that may be adversely affected by these same conditions.

A grizzly end for what I think is a stingless bee

Another day - another vicitm

Now I realise the moustache [mystax] is quite eye catching, but take a look at the feet of this insect. Those boots weren't made for walking ... they were made for killing.

True flies [as opposed to false one's I guess], they hunt both on the wing and by stalking their prey through the undergrowth. Once caught, they dispatch their victims with a shot of venom injected via their proboscis which then doubles as a drinking straw to suck out the dissolving innards ... this same armament can also be used for defence - so they're a look but don't touch sort of critter.

They're found the whole world over, but as I've said before - the commonality of an animal doesn't diminish it's WOW factor - at least for me.

There is a really great wiki article on these guys ... here's an excerpt and link:

The Asilidae are predators, both in the juvenile stage and the adult stage, and feed on small arthropods, mainly insects. Although predatory forms in the adult stage are present in other taxonomic groups of Diptera the Asilidae are the most representative for the number of species and for uniformity of feeding behaviour.

They are aggressive to the point of earning the common name, in English, of "robber flies". The combination of high biodiversity and high predatory activity leads to this family playing an important role in the ecological stability of entomofauna. ^