robber flies

Facts about robber flies

Facts about robber flies

  • The most commonly seen robber flies are dark in color, but some common types are orange. Several species even mimic bumble bees, with black and yellow stripes.
  • Larval and adult robber flies are predators of other insects, and are famous for their ability to capture prey in the air. In fact, robber flies will often catch insects that are larger than themselves, such as bumble bees.
  • Robber flies will occasionally bite humans, but they are not blood feeders, and will only bite on accident or if provoked.
  • Kokopelli, an important figure from Native American folklore, is partly named after “pelli,” a word for the desert robber fly.
  • Over 400 genera [now 530] and subgenera have been proposed and  7,003 species are known.
  • The robber fly has a beak enclosing a dagger-like shaft used to stab its victim in the head or thorax and inject a fluid which kills it. This fluid soon causes the victim’s “insides” to become liquid and the robber fly then proceeds to suck it dry, leaving nothing but an empty shell. They obviously need counselling. (someone said they should be called the IRS fly).
  • A robber fly’s beak tip is covered with stiff bristles, designed to secure it within the wound it creates.
  • Most victims are captured mid-flight.
  • The female robber fly fequently rejects the amorous attention of a male, seizing and eating him instead.
  • Robber flies inject a toxin containing neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes. The victim will be almost immediately paralyzed and the toxins will work on the body to liquefy the flesh. The Robber fly will then use its proboscis to suck out the resulting soup.
  • Robber flies are capable of killing bees, other flies, beetles, butterflies, ants, dragonflies, grasshoppers and some spiders, which they will usually attack before the arachnid has had the chance to finish weaving its web.

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