Robber Flies

There is something about mimic insects that I just love, the way they think they are fooling everyone.

If you watch a real bee, it is always working, zipping from blossom to blossom, oblivious to any spectators or camera lenses…

American Bumblebee

But with mimics like robber flies — you see one and your mind’s snap judgement is “bee”, but something about it nags at you. It isn’t deep within a flower, collecting pollen as quick as it can go, it’s just sitting right out in the open on a leaf or a branch, not even near a flower.

Robber fly on grass stem. Mallophora sp., I think.


Robber Fly, Laphria grossa , I think.

Robber Fly,possibly Laphria saffrana.

Sometimes it’s clutching the remains of its victim.

Robber Fly with prey. Possibly Promachus hinei.

Just hanging out, looking around — until it notices you looking in its direction.

“I am a bee, fear my sting!”

It tries to stare you down for a minute, then it gives up and zooms off, way across the field.

This week I read about another insect mimic, a wasp mantidfly, which looks like a cross between a wasp and a praying mantis.  I will be looking more closely at the wasps around here to see if I can find one.