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Assassin Fly eating Golden Eyes

Assassin Fly eating Golden Eyes
Photo Information
Copyright: brenda stevens (drchoneydew) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 162 W: 38 N: 475] (3501)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-07-31
Categories: Insects
Camera: FinePix HS20EXR, Raynox DCR250
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-08-07 16:42
Viewed: 3385
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Ordinarily would never post such an out of focus insect BUT this FREAKED ME OUT! At first (yes i didn't have my glasses on) thought, oh wow what a cool looking insect, took a quick shot and uploaded. Never saw such a golden eyed insect before and was thinking; "Wow almost looks like a dragonfly" and then I Ctrl + to make it larger and SEE IT..dang its eating an insect. Devil Doc will LOVE this one! :0)

Robber Fly, any of a family of medium to large predatory flies known for their fast flight, excellent vision, and their habit of catching large prey while in flight. Also called assassin flies, they are widely distributed. There are about 5000 species worldwide and about 900 species in North America.

Robber flies are highly variable in size and body shape, ranging from 0.5 to 5.0 cm (0.2 to 2.0 in) in length. Most species are slender-bodied, with hunched backs and tapering abdomens; but some are stout-bodied and hairy, with rounded abdomens, resembling bees. They have large eyes that face toward the sides, and the top of the head is typically concave between the eyes.

Robber flies are impressive predators that typically specialize in flying insects, including wasps, bees, and dragonflies; the prey may be larger than the robber fly itself. Most robber flies frequent sunny, open areas and are active during the warmest parts of the day and year. They perch on branches, logs, stones, or the ground, and rush out to attack when suitable prey flies by. The robber fly uses its bristly legs to intercept the prey by grasping it around the head or back. Then, employing its needlelike mouthparts, the robber fly stabs the prey and injects a saliva that contains nerve toxins and digestive enzymes. This quickly paralyzes the prey and liquefies its tissues; the robber fly then sucks out the prey's insides, much as spiders do. Some robber flies closely resemble certain species of bumblebees. This may provide the flies with protection against potential predators, and it may enable the robber flies to more easily approach and attack the bees themselves.

The larvae, or immature stages, of robber flies are wormlike predators. They live in soil, rotting stumps and logs, and similar moist organic material. Larval robber flies live solitarily and in secluded places, so their ecology and habits are less well known than are those of the adults. The larvae feed primarily on the eggs and larvae of other insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and flies.

Scientific classification: Robber flies make up the family Asilidae in the insect order Diptera, the true flies. They are in the suborder Brachycera, along with the bee flies and horse flies, among others. Most North American bumble bee-mimicking robber flies are in the genera Laphria and Mallophora.

devildoc, maaciejka, ramthakur has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ramthakur: Awesome! You guys are great..drchoneydew 1 08-17 18:38
To devildoc: i KNEW you would! lololdrchoneydew 1 08-08 09:48
To mwmod99: LOL George!! thank you dear! lololdrchoneydew 1 08-08 08:34
To tuslaw: Ron..thats what i thought too!drchoneydew 2 08-07 19:50
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-08-07 18:26]
  • [+]

Hello Brenda,
May not be the sharpest, but I must admit it is a pretty cool shot. I have yet to capture a Robber Fly with it's meal.
I looked at your image very closely and actually think what appears to be two greenish golden colored eyes is actually the head and thorax of a type of wasp or bee. If you look at the one on the left it looks like it has two tiny antenna coming out from it and pointing towards the ground. The striped segment in the middle is where the head and thorax connect.
I may be totally wrong, but this is what it looks like to me. Either way I think it is a neat capture!! Great job!

Hello dear Brenda,
Hope you are fine! Well .... I wouldn't call your job today totally " Great " because of obvious reasons ( perhaps the camera let you down ;), but I would like to greet you for the courage to post that image, since you realized that the seen can grab our attention. ...and rightly so ! The Robber Fly is a vicious hunter, and does not hesitate to attack even bigger insects. The golden eye prey here may belong to the rare 007 species ;) Which makes the hunter even cooler ! ...try again Brenda, I know you can do it !
George Veltchev


YES ... "I LOVE" this shot!! The prey appears to be a small hymenoptera (wasp) and an interesting species that I haven't seen. The Asilidae are quite easy to photograph when they are "feeding their face". Next time you see one feeding, take your time! The POV is great and focus is not that far off. You demonstrate (with the frontal POV) the characteristic cleft separating the large hemispherical eyes. They will sit all day for you (until they are done sucking the life out of their prey). Keep after those robber flies.



Hi Brenda,
very nice photo of this assassin :)
Great point of view. Very good portrait,
thanks for sharing,

Ciao Brenda
Interessante macro, questo vuol dire trovarsi giusti, al momento giusto, e soprattutto con la macchina pronta,ottimi i colori peccato per la nitidezza,comunque e sempre un’ottima foto brava.
Ciao Marco.

  • Great 
  • farango (434)
  • [2012-08-16 17:46]

Excelente escena, lastima esta un poco desenfocada.

Thank you very much for your critique on my picture of a butterfly we call Plain Tiger in our part of the world, Brenda.
From your recent pictures posted here on TN, I liked this one of a Robberfly eating another insect. It is an impressive action shot from an apt point of view. The formidable killer is in full possession of its poor victim here.
I too shot a similar scenario yesterday in which a yellow Crab Spider hidden on a yellow flower has grabbed a tiny Moth and is in the process of consuming it. What is more interesting is the third protagonist present within the frame, namely, a Blister Beetle, who, totally indifferent to the events happening under its nose, is busy eating away the yellow flower on which this drama of struggle for existence is going on. Maybe I'll post that picture today or tomorrow.
I must admit I was somewhat dismayed to notice that you had almost cropped off the paw of the killer in your picture. My guess is that you took this snapshot in a hurry and ended up with the frame you have posted. Nevertheless, the appeal of your picture is not at all diminished by its somewhat unconventional presentation.
BTW, Ron's observation of the victim insect seems quite accurate to me.


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