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Promachus sp. (Family: Asilidae) (Robber Fly / Predatör Sinek)

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Promachus sp. (Family: Asilidae) (Robber Fly / Predatör Sinek)

Promachus sp. (Family: Asilidae) (Robber Fly / Predatör Sinek) from Nazilli, Aydın - 28.06.2009.

There are over 7,000 species of robber flies ((family Asilidae) world wide; nearly 1,000 in North America. All robber flies have stout, spiny legs, a dense moustache of bristles on the face (mystax), and 3 simple eyes (ocelli) in a characteristic depression between their two large compound eyes. The mystax helps protect the head and face when the fly encounters prey bent on defense. The antennae are short, 3-segmented, sometimes with a bristle-like structure called an arista.

The short, strong proboscis is used to stab and inject victims with saliva containing neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes which paralyze and digest the insides; the fly then sucks the liquefied meal much like we vacuum up an ice cream soda through a straw. Many species have long, tapering abdomens, sometimes with a sword-like ovipositor. Others are fat-bodied bumble bee mimics; the effect is quite convincing. Take a close look at any insect that looks like a bumble bee if it's sitting on a leaf - chances are, it's a robber fly (Bumble bees as a rule do not sit in one spot for more than a few seconds).

Adult robber flies attack other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, dragon and damselflies, ichneumon wasps, grasshoppers, and some spiders. Courtship behavior consists of the male glomming onto the female as if she were prey. Copulation is accomplished tail-to-tail, with the genitalia interlocked. The duo has no trouble flying around in this condition; the male generally towing the female backwards.

Reference: 1. Chinery, M. (1986). Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe, Collins, Glasgow, 320 pp. 2. Wikipedia. 3. http://www.cirrusimage.com/

Author Bayram GÖÇMEN
Created on Sunday 28 June 2009
Posted on Monday 18 July 2011
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