Winged robbers …… flies of a different sort

A large fly recently settled on a wall in Beacon Bay (EL) and was identified as one of the species of robber flies found in the region. With a wingspan of close to 25 mm, this species, Alcimus tristrigatus, was resting on a wall and may have been attracted to a body of water close by. When resting on the ground they can mimmick short-horned grasshoppers (a major prey item). The robber flies belong to the insect family called Asilidae and are generally recognisable by being  bristly and the top of the hairy head hollowed into a deep groove. Preying on other insects which are normally caught in flight, they are voracious and have powerful legs to subdue prey. Prey species include bees, wasps and grasshoppers.

robber fly

Robber fly (Alcimus tristrigatus)

 

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About East London Museum Science

Conservation Biologist East London Museum South Africa
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