Thursday, April 7, 2011

Robber Fly - Family Asilidae (Order Diptera)

Robber Fly 3
Insects in the Diptera family Asilidae are commonly called robber flies. The family Asilidae contains about 7,100 described species worldwide.

All robber flies have stout, spiny legs, a dense moustache of bristles on the face (mystax), and 3 simple eyes (ocelli) in a characteristic depression between their two large compound eyes. The mystax helps protect the head and face when the fly encounters prey bent on defense. The antennae are short, 3-segmented, sometimes with a bristle-like structure called an arista.

The short, strong proboscis is used to stab and inject victims with saliva containing neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes which paralyze and digest the insides; the fly then sucks the liquefied meal through the proboscis. Many species have long, tapering abdomens, sometimes with a sword-like ovipositor. Others are fat-bodied bumblebee mimics. Adult robber flies attack other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, ants, dragon and damselflies, Ichneumon wasps, grasshoppers, and some spiders.

Classification of Robber flies - Family Asilidae (order Diptera)
Kingdom Animalia C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Phylum Arthropoda Latreille, 1829 - arthropods
Class Insecta C. Linnaeus, 1758 - insects
Order Diptera C. Linnaeus, 1758 - true flies, mosquitoes and gnats
Suborder Brachycera Schiner, 1862
Infraorder Asilomorpha
Superfamily Asiloidea
Family Asilidae - robber flies
  • Apocleinae
  • Asilinae
  • Dasypogoninae
  • Laphriinae
  • Leptogastrinae
  • Ommatiinae
  • Stenopogoninae
  • Stichopogoninae
  • Trigonomiminae

Robber Fly 2
Robber Fly
Camera: Sony Ericsson K800i
Location: Ponorogo, East Java, Indonesia (in my father-in-law’s front yard).

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