Tuesday, May 18, 2010

robberfly a la Kansas

Based on a pic I spied on MOBugs, I'm guessing this Kansas creature is a robberfly.

I was just happy this fascinating insect allowed me to approach so closely. Not a face you'll forget soon.

Looked it up at Bugguide.net, confirmed that guess, and learned the following (their words [my words]):

"Medium-sized to large predatory flies, often perch in exposed location [yup] and make short flies after prey.
Typical family characteristics:
  • top of head hollowed out between eyes, with three ocelli [small, simple eye] in this depression (diagnostic character) [can't really tell]
  • body from very hairy to nearly bare [well, that narrows it down...]
  • typical body form elongated, with tapered abdomen, but other forms as well
  • some groups mimics of hymenoptera 
  • face usually 'bearded', with prominent mystax [check! blond mustache] 
  • mouthparts modified to inject saliva into prey--saliva contains potent neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes" [I believe that's the black, straight thing, and fyi, proteolytic means protein degrading, which means digesting, effectively--ouch! Read elsewhere their proboscises are not long--check.]
Fierce creatures that seem to, in their various forms, catch my eye over the years. Some look like jet pilots who ARE ALSO the fighter plane. Impressive!


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