Location: Rockaway, NJ USA
Equipment: Nikon D3100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens
Please view this intimidating insect LARGE
There are nearly 1,000 North American species of robber flies, with more than 100 species occurring in Florida. All robber flies have a characteristic divot on top of the head, which is located between their especially prominent compound eyes. In general, adult Asilidae have an elongate body with a tapered abdomen. 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 (You can clearly see it here). However, some species are stout and hairy, mimicking bumble bees (Which I have seen. See below). This beauty was just relaxing on a branch looking menacing. These flies CAN bite if handled, but are essentially harmless to humans and that scary looking “stinger” is actually just an ovipositor used in reproduction.