Robber – The Impressive Fly

So, last week . . . I was squatting down next to one of the the lawn ornaments, snapping away at the flowering carnation plant, and all of a sudden a loud noise like a miniature outboard motor, right next to my face.

Flowers, C-130, Bugs,

I’m not afraid of insects, really I’m not. I have an Official Bug Transport Vehicle (a.k.a. yellow Solo cup) I use to relocate various insects from inside my house to the great outdoors. Spiders, centipedes, multilegged, multi-eyed, small, large, it makes no difference to me; I capture them, and release them outside.

But I’ve never saw one of these, and the first thing I thought was “GHOUL!”

Before I go onto the rest of the photos, please look at the above carefully . . . that white thing that looks like the bug’s face? Not the bug’s face, but another bug, one it had just caught.

Flowers, C-130, Bugs,

The captured bug was still moving . . . Let me tell you, I was glad this thing already had a meal.

Flowers, C-130, Bugs,

Now, as I was shooting this, I had not noticed the other bug. I thought it was all one bug thing. I didn’t even notice when it did this . . .

Flowers, C-130, Bugs,

. . . and repositioned to the other side of the copper stand. And let me tell you something else; these things are FAST!

Flowers, C-130, Bugs,

I then noticed the captured bug, mostly because it was still alive and moving. The Ghoul had repositioned it so it could feast on the juicy parts of the unfortunate victim.

You can click on the photos for a larger version that will open on a new tab or window, or you can go see the full size photos in Smugmug (HERE).

OK, so it’s not a ghoul (appearances aside) . . . it’s a Robber Fly. More information about them here.

I was worried it might fly off, but I risked repositioning to get a better shot (I had switched to shooting for speed, so I have a shallow depth of field – I need not have bothered; this thing was content to sit there and suck on its poor victim).

Bugs, Robber Fly, Bugs, Robber Fly,

I hoped the meal was dead, otherwise that’s a pretty gruesome way to go.

Bugs, Robber Fly,

The write-up says the Robber Fly is a medium-to-large bug, up to 5cm – that’s two inches, and I estimate this thing to have been all of that.

This next shot shows a little better the “short stout proboscis enclosing the sharp, sucking hypopharynx” (text from Wikipedia).

Bugs, Robber Fly,

I risked getting closer, and in a blur and outboard-motor noise it flew off. Again, I will say these things are FAST! I mean, it makes sense since they are predators . . . but when I say fast, I mean it crossed my yard, the road, and was lost from sight in something like a second and a half, maybe two.

I had never seen (or heard) of a Robber Fly before that day. I then saw more (but smaller) when I went weeding, when I cut the grass, and when I watered the plants. In all,  four or five times during the next week or so.

Which brings me to today . . . I went out to get the mail, and there were two smaller (about an inch and a half) on the concrete drive. I pulled my phone, and got right in the face of one of them . . . 


. . . and was a bit startled when this thing reared up!


That white bit on the tail signifies a male. I pressed on . . . 


. . . and a bit closer yet.


The phone has a wide angle lens, so I was pretty close when I snapped that last one. About then, the fly flew a few feet away. I went to get the mail, and they were still there when I returned to the spot. 

It looked like an invitation to me, so I went to get my camera. This next shot is of the female of the pair.

Insect, Robber Fly,

And guess what? She was having a meal.

Insect, Robber Fly,

The shots were done with the 105mm macro lens, and I was laying down on the ground . . . the neighbors probably just shook their heads and went back to tending their dogs and kids.

Meanwhile, the male had not moved from where it had flown.

Insect, Robber Fly,

It did not seem too perturbed as I circled around it.

Insect, Robber Fly, Insect, Robber Fly,

It was little effort to swing back to the female.

Insect, Robber Fly, Insect, Robber Fly, Insect, Robber Fly,


. . . I guess Cecelia did not head out East after all . . . 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Macro Photography, Photography Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Robber – The Impressive Fly

  1. sandra getgood says:

    Those flies are going to be in my nightmares tonight, I’m sure of it. But I love the goggles, and am betting that sooner or later, Joss Whedon will figure out a way to add these creatures to an Avengers movie. Or perhaps Agents Of Shield, if he needs a small-sized villain to wreak havoc in an episode and Ward is busy.


    • disperser says:

      When I saw it I was reminded of the Lexx.

      I stopped watching Agents of Shields after the 5th or sixth episode. I hear it eventually gelled, but I have no immediate plans to catch up.


  2. Chillbrook says:

    He’d make a good fishing fly. I can think any number of trout would find this bug very interesting dangling on the end of some fishing line. Cool pictures Emilio!


  3. oneowner says:

    I’m gonna guess that while having their meal, or right after a meal, these flies are at their most vulnerable. That’s why they weren’t disturbed enough to fly away. Not that I have a good deal of information about Entomology, but it makes sense. The photographs are really excellent so maybe the best time to photograph bugs and get the best shots is dinner time.


    • disperser says:

      You might be right, but the male was not eating at the time.

      Now that I know what they look like and what they sound like, I’ll be on the lookout for them.


  4. I have to say that is one of the coolest looking flies I’ve ever seen. I’d love to see one sometime. Fantastic photos of it.


  5. Man they’re ugly, gives me the creeps. Great captures!


    • disperser says:

      Thanks . . . as for their looks, imagine turning your head and seeing this thing a few inches in front of your face. Anyway, I’m now seeing them all over the place. Perhaps conditions are right for them this year. I think I read somewhere they are cyclical, but I could be mistaken.


  6. Carissa says:

    Amazing photos, Emilio! (Creepy fly, though.)


  7. AnnMarie says:

    After the first dozen photos I thought it best to quickly scroll down to the comments so I don’t impress these images in my mind. Out of sight, out of mind . . . I hope. Good shots, though.


  8. These are great fly portraits!
    And I’d rather see them close up in photos…and not close up on my nose! Ha!
    HUGS!!! :-)


    • disperser says:

      These are rather large flies and also noisy . . . I wouldn’t want them near my nose either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One time we were eating at an outdoor restaurant and the flies were buzzing all around us and on us and our food! Ugh! Well, one of my kids (they were little then) didn’t want the onions on her sandwich so she put the onions way over on the corner of the table. We thought it interesting, the flies when over there and stayed over there on the onions. I have no idea why. But it worked and we got a good laugh out of it. :-)


      • disperser says:

        Because onions taste like sh . . . I mean, because flies like onions.

        I’ll have to start ordering onions on the side as many restaurants here are open-air and thus entertain flies.


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