Robber flies. They are killers, predators, mimics and assassins. But like all flies, they have no crushing mouthparts and therefore have to drink their lunch. That means for robber flies the proboscis has evolved for piercing and sucking. One stab and a cocktail of paralytic and digestive enzymes dumps into the prey so it’s easier to handle… and easier to imbibe.
Bee killer (a.k.a. robber fly or asilid fly; Mallophora fautrix). I find these critters all over the place. I also see them fall prey to other predators, including other robber flies, but they’re brave insects who seem quite willing to take on anything that flies. I found this one near the heron lagoon.
Bee-like robbery fly (Laphria macquarti). Even at 400mm, this large monster looked terribly small. Mind you, I was standing so far away that I could only see a flying thing that I thought was a bumblebee. Not until I looked at the image at home did I realize what I had seen.
Almost a year ago to the day I posted the first photo I’d ever taken of the most common species of giant robber fly in Texas, Promachus hinei. A month after that I found another one. Since then, I’ve watched for them and discovered this male perched in the same tree where I saw the first one.
And nearby, this female sat quietly in the bushes. They tussled briefly when they met a few minutes after I took these photos. Neither won the war and both returned to their respective corners to await other dining opportunities. Both were gone later in the evening, yet the male found his way back into the tree the very next night. Did he or something else consume his female counterpart? Or did she just move on to a less crowded dining table?