There are over 7,000 species of robber flies world wide; nearly 1,000 in North America. All robber flies have stout, spiny legs, a dense mustache 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; then fly then sucks the liquefied meal much like we vacuum up an ice cream soda through a straw. Many species have long, tapering abdomens, sometimes with a sword-like ovipositor (you can see it here). I was a little nervous while focusing on this LARGE fly. I wasn’t so sure about being so close to it and, sure enough, after I got this shot it took off and flew right into my ear. EEEK!!! I ran screaming like a little girl, flailing my arms like I was on fire. Thankfully I didn’t damage my Nikon D3100 or my Nikon 85mm macro lens. Both of which I used to capture this terrifying giant. This hilarious episode took place in my front yard in Rockaway, NJ.
View it LARGE, if you dare! =)