Saturday, June 20, 2009

Giant Robber Fly

This bug-eyed insect is the Giant Robber Fly in the genus Promachus. Their genus name is Latin for "Fighter in the front ranks". This is an apt description for such a master predator as these flies. They are rather large at around 1 1/2 inches. Sometimes they are called Bee Killers, hinting at their favorite food. I've seen these flies catch and kill not only bees but wasps, dragonflies and other large insects. Usually they are very hard to approach, but this one cooperated nicely and sat still for a picture. Look for them in open fields with tall grasses, meadows, prairies, anywhere grasses and flowers can be found where they can feast on the insects attracted to blooming plants. After mating, the female will deposit eggs underground. The larvae will feed on plant roots, soil insects. It takes up to one year to complete their life cycle to adulthood. Adults usually appear in the mid summer months.

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