Thursday, July 28, 2011

Asilidae (Robberfly)

Since living on our land, I've started to use my camera a lot more.  First it was to capture the children enjoying themselves, then it was to document our building process and lately it's been insects.  Although the drought has really gotten me down, because I was looking forward to taking photos of wildflowers it has forced me to look for other things that I'd enjoy photographing.  I had no idea what a robber fly was at the beginning of the summer, but I sure have found them fun to hunt and capture a variety that seem to be prevalent on our land.

They are "bearded"having fine hair that covers their piercing mouthparts.   

Things I'm learning about the robber fly, is it's a member of the family Asilidae. There seem to be nearly 1,000 species in North America and 250 of them live in Texas.  Their prey seem to be a variety of pests: beetles, wasps, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, bees and others. They range in size from 3 mm to 50 mm (about two inches!)

Robber flies are among the few insects that catch their prey in mid-flight. 

After injecting the hapless meal with saliva that paralyzes and digest's it's prey's bodily contents, the robber fly will find a place to perch and slurp its insect smoothie........which is what I witnessed this morning.

one of my favourites and first close up

light as a feather.....notice how it's balanced on blades of grass

It's amazing how much I've learned in the last month about a few new insects.  Having a camera in tow has allowed me to capture images and being intrigued to learn more about them.  I originally found the robberfly scary, but after photographing them, I started to look forward to more encounters. 

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