The Giant Robber Flies get their name for a reason. This particular fly is a killer. The long, cylindrical abdomen is cream colored with thick, black cross-bands. Nonetheless, it makes stinging motions, brandishing genitalia at the tip of its abdomen as if it had a stinger. Robber flies are found on all continents but Antarctica. During the day, it is possible to see a Robber Fly sitting on a fence, handrail, or garden box. Learn more about fly bites here. Robber fly, (family Asilidae), any of about 6,750 species of predatory insects, worldwide in distribution, in the fly order, Diptera. Some, however, eat honey bees, as well as wasps and bumble bees. Larvae are grublike and live in or on soil, among decaying materials, or in rotting wood. The robber fly is the size of a grain of rice, but it could be described as the Top Gun of the fly world. Robber flies live in urban areas, forests and woodlands. Required fields are marked *. The face often appears bearded, and the mouthparts are a pointy knifelike proboscis for injecting saliva into prey. Learn more about this and other robber flies on their group page. The robber fly is a predator of almost all flying insects. The scientific name of the robber fly pictured is Promachus vertebratus.The Greek background of the name promachos is “defender, champion.” Another translation says promachus means “challenger”, and yet another says “who leads into battle.” After aerial chase, the large, buzzing Robber Fly overtakes its victim. Then it uses the proboscis to suck out the liquid. Both are visual predators. Robber flies are a special group of predatory flies that possess stout, spiny legs, a dense moustache of bristles on the front of the head (mystax) that protects the robber fly’s head when it encounters struggling or stinging prey, and three simple eyes in a depression between two large compound eyes. Sand fly bites are very painful. The legs are reddish-brown and hairy. Some robber flies in the genus Laphria look almost exactly like bumble bees, complete with yellow fuzzy patches on their rather pudgy bodies. This is a truly awesome insect, and I relish each encounter I have with them. Their appearance is somewhat frightening — after all, a big, hairy, humped flying insect isn’t usually a good thing. They don’t “go after” humans, but if you mishandle them, they might bite. Body length (not including appendages): most are ½ to ¾ inch; varies with species; some reach 1¼ inches. In North America, there are about 13 species of robber flies in genus Ommatius. Robber flies of this size (probably 30-35mm) do not fly so fast you cannot follow them – plus they have a low buzzing-rustling sound that greatly aids in pursuit. You might be seeing them yourself but simply not recognizing what they are. Common Name: Robber fly Scientific Name: Varies Order: Diptera Description: Adult stages are medium to large (3/8 to 1-1/8 inch) flies often observed on stems of plants, on the ground or flying low. They certainly bear little resemblance to house flies. When cats have fly bites on their ears, a fly repellant cream may be used to deter the flies. It can also transmit sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis) to animals and humans. It often hangs from branches or objects near the ground, waiting to ambush passing prey. Green-Eyed Robber Fly on Missouri Ironweed, Green-eyed robber fly (Promachus vertebratus) on Missouri ironweed (Vernonia missurica). The cuterebra, or botfly, is … Fly bites differ depending on the type of fly. The scary bug was a Robber Fly, also known as a Giant Robberfly, Bee Panther or Red-footed Cannibalfly. Fly bites can cause symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling. The name "robber flies" reflects their notoriously aggressive predatory habits; they feed mainly or exclusively on other insects and as a rule they wait in ambush and catch their prey in flight. If handled roughly, robber flies (at least the larger ones) can inflict a painful bite. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. Each species has a characteristic habitat—e.g., tree trunk, foliage, grass, low plant, dead twig, gravel, or beach sand. Robber flies are not normally considered pests. These giant robber flies are in the family Asilidae. The most commonly seen robber flies are dark in color, but some common types are orange. The saliva isn't venomous, but Russo said the bite is really painful -- so it's not a good idea to mess with it. It injects a fluid into its victims that breaks down the muscle tissue. But true flies always have the same characteristics: only one pair of wings (bees and wasps have two pairs); the second pair of “wings” on true flies are reduced to tiny knobby structures called halteres (which function like gyroscopes, assisting flight). Like all true flies, robber flies have only 2 wings. Some cats are susceptible to fly bites on their ears, especially cats that live outdoors. Robber fly, (family Asilidae), also called assassin fly, any of about 6,750 species of predatory insects, worldwide in distribution, in the fly order, Diptera. It often hangs from branches or objects near the ground, waiting to ambush passing prey. The bite injects a digestive saliva into the prey, immobilizing it, and the fly returns to its perch to finish its meal. Contributors own the copyright to and are solely responsible for contributed content.Click the contributor's name for licensing and usage information. Also in the Order Diptera (which includes all flies and mosquitoes) are the amazing robber flies. Nonetheless, it makes stinging motions, brandishing genitalia at the tip of its abdomen as if it had a stinger. Robber flies are conspicuous denizens of the desert southwest, but are common nearly everywhere. This nice big Giant Blue Robber Fly seemed pretty angry at being trapped inside the window, so I was a tad wary about catching it at first as I didn't know if it would try to bite me or not - I was blissfully unaware of it at the time, but they have a ferocious reputation for being quite aggressive! There are differences, of course, if one looks close. Would probably destroy human tissue a little bit as well. First, it induces sleep in the patient, making them more vulnerable to the bite of a tsetse fly. It injects a fluid into its victims that breaks down the muscle tissue. If you need expert professional advice, contact your local extension office. Most tachinid flies are larger than a house fly and noticeably more bristly, but they range in size from 2–20mm and across the family there is a tremendous variety of shapes, colors and degree of bristling (Fig. Another is the red footed cannibal fly, which is a giant robber fly that has an abdomen with alternating yellow and black stripes, giving the insect the cool nickname of Panther fly. The cuterebra, or botfly, is known to lay its eggs on the skin of animals. Several species even mimic bumble bees, with black and yellow stripes. that was busy gathering nectar. In particular, Proctacanthus milbertii has a nasty looking lance under his chin that looks quite capable. The name "robber flies" reflects their notoriously aggressive predatory habits; they feed mainly or exclusively on other insects and as a rule they wait in ambush and catch their prey in flight. They resemble damselflies enzymes and a painful bite if mishandled of its abdomen as if it a. 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