Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hanging Thief

This crazy long-legged insect is called a Hanging Thief, they are a type of robber fly and are beneficial to have around. They dine on various insects including many flies, moths and even stinging insects. They are incredible fliers and very fast. Often times they are hard to approach...just look at those eyes. They can see you coming from great distances. This particular one cooperated nicely and let me shoot several pictures before taking off into the garden and out of sight. Flies have long been a favorite group of insects of mine, and these hanging thieves rank right up at the top of my list of all time favorites.

Another Hanging Thief, this one was photographed last year on a farm my in-laws own. The coloration is completely different from the one above indicating two separate species. Unfortunately I do not know which species either of these are despite looking at various websites. It seems they are hard to ID to species. No matter....I can still enjoy them, even if I don't know their "true name".


  1. So they are same family,Asilidae?My Peterson guide is really vague.Nice shots and post!

  2. Yes that is the correct family. I am not a huge fan of the Peterson guides. I know everyone has them and many rave about them, but I have never learned to love them. A good guide to purchase for quick ID is Kenn Kaufman's field guide to North American Insects. The lead author is Eric Eaton who has the blog "bug eric" I use that guide a lot. Another good one is Dr. Art Evans guide that he wrote for the National Wildlife Federation. They are both excellent resources. Thanks again for your kind words. Hanging thieves make great subjects when you can get them to sit still long enough