Posted by: buzzybeegirl | August 29, 2008

It’s a Fly!

I know you are now wondering “was I right? Was it a bumblebee in that last post?” Oh what a trickster I can be. That is not a bumblebee or any other kind of bee in the last post. It is a fly. A robber fly to be exact. They are in the family Asilidae. Some of these flies are excellent bee or wasp mimics. They can usually be found hanging out on stems like the one in the photo I posted. They wait for their prey to fly by, then they grab them in flight. they will eat other flies, bees, moths, wasps (yes…wasps!), dragonflies, beetles, and other insects. I have seen them snatch a honeybee in flight. It is cool to watch them. There is more info about these flies here and pictures of others here. You have to check out the pictures. You have more likely seen one, but never noticed. Maybe you will notice them next time.

There is a way to tell a bee from a fly. The eyes are usually the easiest way. Flies have these big googley eyes that are close together. Their eyes remind me of the giant sunglasses I see girls on campus wearing…more eyes than head. Another feature are the wings. Flies only have one pair of wings (2 wings total) while bees and wasps have two pairs (4 wings total). You wouldn’t be able to tell the wing pattern in the picture, but look at the eyes! Sometime in the future I will post another picture and see if anyone remembers this info.



  1. You didn’t tell us there were going to be quizzes! 😉

  2. Yeah! I don’t wanna study. Please don’t make me study!

  3. don’t worry, she can’t lower anyone’s grades.

  4. The great thing about the bug link is that I found what appears to be the most bizarre insect I had ever seen….well, the second oddest…definitely out of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits!
    Last year, what appears to have been a Red-footed Cannibalfly alighted onto the screen of my sunroom and couldn’t maneuver around to fly out. I took several pictures of him….and subsequently through the folder out by mistake a few months ago! My bad!
    From the looks of it, though the Cannibalfly photo in the link just could’ve been what I had here. This thing was a good 6″ from tip to toe, with a needly-feeler running out his back end another 3-4″. Absolutely bizarre!
    Perfect nightmare material….and something out of the movies that James reviews!

  5. Yes…..there will be a test later! You want nightmares….this is the creepiest insect I have ever seen. In 1983, we went down to Lake Powell for a relaxing weekend. We found our spot and I went up to fill the 5-gallon “jug” with water. This thing came crawling out from under a rock and scared the holy s**t out of me. Ranger comes out of his trailer and says…Oh, that’s a Tarantula Wasp….nasty looking, huh?
    And, now, YOU, too, can take a look:

    I hope I never see one again! It was GIGANTIC!

  6. Those tarantula hawks are gigantic, but very cool. I heard their sting is one of the worst.

    And I won’t make anyone study…Just guess again =-)

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