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Robber Fly

Robber Fly
Photo Information
Copyright: Ken Slade (Ken52) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-14
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT), Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, 58mm circular polarizer
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-07-08 18:37
Viewed: 3115
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Tonight I give you a Robber Fly. I photographed this one in my back yard under very cloudy conditions. I am amazed by their hunting skills and find it very interesting how they paralyze their prey with a toxin. The toxin liquefies the prey's tissues. The robber fly then sucks out the prey's insides.

I am guessing this Robber Fly is the species Promachus albifacies or possibly the species Promachus bastar.dii, but it is difficult to tell. There are about 5000 species worldwide and about 900 species in North America.

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.

Robber flies are 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.

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.

Source: http://www.everythingabout.net/articles/biology/animals/arthropods/insects/flies/robber_fly/index.shtml

Aperture = f5.6
Shutter = 1/200s
ISO = 800
Focal Length = 300mm
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens
cloudy conditions, but flash did not fire

angybone, gracious, Proframe, Alex99, jmirah, ellis49, XOTAELE, lawhill, anel, jaycee, mikou, nglen, Debz, go2stones, edal, vanderschelden, rimas has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • trinko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 587 W: 78 N: 322] (4321)
  • [2007-07-08 18:42]

nice colors great focus good DOF nice background

Once again perfect sharpness and detail. Great BG. Wonderful color and definitely an action shot! :)

hi ken,
nice macro shot, sharp image with good details, very suitable pov,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-07-08 20:34]

Hi Ken

The insect and I almost share the same name.lol.A wonderful macro of this Robber fly.The details are sharp and the focus is spot on.The lighting is excellent and the colours well saturated.TFS


Hello Ken,
Great detailed macro shot.
Razor sharp and the overcast conditions gave you wonderful light.
Exposure is spot on and the soft light colored background against wich the robber fly does stand out perfectly is lovely.
Perfect notes.
Thanks for sharing.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • jmirah Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 5 N: 1141] (4687)
  • [2007-07-08 21:15]

Unreal...An absolutly great photo...The detail is amazing...Very impressive...TFS

Hi Ken,
a nice catch wiht great sharpness and details. The DOF is also great.
NIce composition and POV.
Well done.

Ah! Amazing, quels détails, magnifique, la netteté et le focus sont excellents.

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-07-08 22:51]

Hello Ken,
Wonderful macro, great colors and texture, very sharp image, great POV and
composition, fantastic job and congratulation on a fine
capture.. Well done

"I'll Be Back"

Hola Ken.
Fantástica macro, con unos detalles y nitidez fabulosos.
Buena nota. Saludos, JL.

This point of view sure makes it look quite evil.Nice info on it too.
I think it is an incredible capture. So clear and though you say cloudy, the light seems perfect.

Hello Ken,
What a super macro with perfect sharpness with so much details in the photo!
great quality photo indeed
Thanks for sharing
best regards

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-07-09 4:58]

Hi Ken.
Excellent shot of this impressive insect and its prey despite the bad light conditions and use high ISO speed. Details and sharpness of the main subject as well as the colours are great. Composition and cropping of the image are perfect too. Bravo and my kind regards.

Hi Ken,
Fantastic macro so sharp it can be see the heary body with so many details, perfect exposure showing the natural colors, well done TFS. Best regards/Lawhill

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-07-09 8:04]

Hello Ken,
Absolutely amazing sharpness for this Robberfly-picture. And most interesting to see how it sucks out its prey. Excellent picture with great documentary value. Thanks.
Best regards

bonjour ken
beaucoup de details sur cette mouche,elle est parfaitement net.
bon POV,il reste un peu de grain dans le BG je trouve!

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-07-09 8:40]

Hi Ken,

A superb macro of this Fly. Can't get any better than this. Not only are the colors and details superb but we can see he is in motion. Wonderful composition and background are a bonus.


  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-07-09 9:24]

Hi Ken.
Excellent close-up.Superb point of view nicely shows all sharp details.On light BG looks all details really wonderfully.Colors are beautiful and superb light too.Congrats and thank you for sharing.
Best greetings Milos.

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-07-09 23:37]

Amazing macro ken. Detail on the fly is awesome. Great colour, exposure and light. All pin sharp with great dof.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-07-10 0:26]

Hi Ken,
Awesome macro shot of the Robber Fly. Outstanding sharp details and spot-on focus. Set against the smooth and contrasting BG it stands out well. Excellent POV and a superb composition. Kudos.

Super image. Great detail and clarity.

Excellent information. I'm glad you posted this, I took a shot of a robber fly awhile back and was trying to find out what it is.


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-07-10 8:50]

hi ken An excellent shot of the Robber FlY. the detail is first class.sharp focusing. and good colour. a nice POV and DOF. very well done TFs.


  • Great 
  • edal Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 374 W: 48 N: 413] (1853)
  • [2007-07-10 17:28]

Wow Ken!
Such a sharp pic with so many details of this fly! Very well chosen lens and polarizer. Angle of shooting - just great!

And another beauty...
Excellent macro; good light and sharpness, well composed.
Well done

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