bee-like robber fly

(Laphria index)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

bee-like robber fly (Laphria index)

 

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon

Flight/Season

June through mid-August

Habitat

Woodland edges and openings

Size

Total Length: ½ to 11 16

          Photo by Alfredo Colon

Identification

Laphria index is a small to medium-sized bee-like robber fly. It occurs in the United States from the northeast to the Midwest, south to Virginia and Missouri, and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is uncommon in Minnesota.

Adults are dark, slender, and ½ to 11 16 (13 to 18 mm) long.

The thorax is black with a narrow triangle of pale to reddish-gold hairs on the upper (dorsal) surface. The triangle is widest at the rear, about as wide as the triangular plate between the wing bases (scutellum). It narrows rapidly to at least the middle of the thorax, and fades at the tip. The hairs are iridescent and the color varies with the angle of the light. The rest of the thorax is covered with longer whitish hairs and shorter black hairs. The triangular plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is covered with paler hairs and has a white bristles on the margin. The small, knob-like structures on each side of the thorax (halteres) are yellow.

The abdomen is long, slender, and black, and has six segments. The first two segments are black with white hairs on the side. The remaining segments are densely covered with orangish-gold hairs. At the rear margin of segment six there are two black, well-defined projections. The genital bulb at the tip of the abdomen is black and very large.

There are two large compound eyes and three small simple eyes (ocelli). The compound eyes extend above the level of the top of the head (vertex), making the head appear hollowed out between the eyes when viewed from the front. The ocelli are arranged in a triangle on a prominent rounded projection (tubercle) in the middle of the head between the compound eyes.

There is a dense mustache of long, stiff, black bristles (mystax) on the face between the compound eyes at the lower margin. The antennae have 3 segments. The third segment is elongated.

The legs are stout and black. They are covered with long gray and black hairs. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments. The last segment has 2 pads.

The wings are clear. They are dark smoky brown at the tip, becoming paler at the base. The first and second radius veins (R1 and R2+3) join before the end of R1 creating a closed cell that does not reach the margin.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

 

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30.


Comments

No Common Name
Few of the North American Laphria species have a common name. The common name for the genus is bee-like robber fly, and is applied here for the sake of convenience..


Taxonomy

Order:

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)

 

Suborder:

Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, mouches muscoïdes, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)

 

Infraorder:

Muscomorpha

 

Superfamily:

Asiloidea

 

Family:

Asilidae (robber flies)

 

Subfamily:

Laphriinae

 

Tribe:

Laphriini

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

no common name


 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Halteres

In flies: a pair of knob-like structures on the thorax representing hind wings that are used for balance.

 

Mystax

On insects in the family Asilidae (robber flies): a dense mustache of stiff bristles on the face.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Alfredo Colon


An Awesome Robberfly

  bee-like robber fly (Laphria index)    

       
       
       

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  bee-like robber fly (Laphria [index or ithypyga])
Bill Keim
 
  bee-like robber fly (Laphria [index or ithypyga])  

 

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  Robber Fly (Asilidae: Laphria index) Male, Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on May 29, 2012

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (29 May 2012). Thank you to Herschel Raney (@Bugguide.net) for confirming the identity and for suggesting the sex of this specimen!

 
     
  Laphria index ORANGE ROBBER FLY
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 19, 2017

Laphria index ORANGE ROBBER FLY

 
     
  Robber Fly (Asilidae: Laphria index/ithypyga complex) Female Feeding
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 24, 2012

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (24 June 2012). Thank you to Tristan McKnight (@Bugguide.net) for determining the sex and probable identity of this specimen!

 
     

 

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Alfredo Colon
6/13/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

An Awesome Robberfly

bee-like robber fly (Laphria index)


     
     
 

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