Celebrating World Robber Fly day

Published: 30 April 2015

Today we're celebrating World Robber Fly day. These fantastic insects are some of the most fascinating and active insect predators.

There are approximately 7,000 species of robber fly and 28 can be found in the UK, including the nationally notable hornet robber fly (Asilus crabroniformis). Robber flies are robust insects with long legs that are often covered in bristles. The adults are strong fliers and often catch prey in mid-air before piercing it with their mouthparts and sucking out the body fluids. The adults will feed on a range of insects including beetles, moths & butterflies, bees and wasps, and other flies - some have even been known to prey on spiders.

The larvae are also predators and feed on many soft-bodied organisms, usually in soil. The life cycle of the robber fly can last between 1 and 3 years and the adults can be seen from late Spring until late Autumn.

Further information on the hornet robber fly can be found on the Natural History Museum website and you can also read Erica McAlister's blog as Curator of Diptera at the Natural History Museum.

Photograph of a Robber fly with prey

A photograph of a robber fly with prey.
Photograph by Walcoford licensed under Creative Commons. Image has been cropped and resized and is released under the same licence.

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