|Robber Fly – Cerotainia albipilosa Curran, 1930
Family Asilidae – Robber Flies
Live adult robber fly photographed at West Chicago Prairie, Illinois. Size = 5mm
|These are very small as robber flies go: 5mm (about 3/16"). Adult robber flies attack other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, dragon and damselflies, ichneumon wasps, grasshoppers, and some spiders.
HULL (1962): "The ROBBER FLIES, or ASILIDAE, comprise one of the largest and most abundant families of present day insects. Distributed through all parts of the world, over 400 genera [now 530] and subgenera have been proposed and about 4,761 species are known [now 7,003]. In addition, 18 genera and 39 species have been described from Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene; 15 of these genera are also Recent [cf. Fossil]. Because of their predatory habit of feeding on other insects and their voravious appetites, they contribute to the maintenance of the natural balance among insect populations. To some extent, parasitic wasps and flies are taken by them, but much of their prey consists of plant-feeding insects. Certain species are known to seriously deplete the populations of apiaries. The adults are, with few exceptions, active flies, of considerable size and readily attract attention. — From Asilidae website of Fritz Geller-Grimm
1. Stanley W. Bromley, Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories, Stamford, Conn. Ohio Robber Flies PDF
Flies of North America – Order Diptera. Flies are prevalent in virtually all habitats, with over 16,000 species in North America. Flies can be distinguished from all other insects in that they only have one pair of normal wings. The other pair has evolved into small ball-like structures called halteres. Most flies have compound eyes and mouthparts adapted for piercing, lapping or sucking fluids.
Syrphidae | Flies Index | Tachinidae | Bee Flies | Robber Flies