false bee-killer

(Promachus bastardii)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

false bee-killer

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon

Flight/Season

 

Habitat

 

Size

Total Length: 1 to 1¼

         
         
         
          Photo by Lindsay Freeland
 
Identification

False bee-killer is a large robber fly. It occurs in the United States east of the Great Plains and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is most common in the southeastern states. It is uncommon in Minnesota.

Adults are 1 to 1¼ in length, the females a little larger than the males. The thorax is arched and stout. The abdomen is half cylindrical, rounded on top, flat below, widest at the base, and tapering to the tip. It is black above, brown below and on the sides. On the male there is a ring of white or yellow hairs at the rear margin of each of the first four or five abdominal segments, and a pair of white hair tufts above at the tip that can be easily seen when the male is in flight.

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. They do not meet at the top of the head on either sex. The ocelli are arranged in a triangle on a prominent rounded projection (tubercle) in the middle of the head between the compound eyes. The upper face is covered with long, erect hairs. There is a dense mustache of long stiff bristles (mystax) on the face between the compound eyes at the lower margin, and a cluster of forward-directed bristles (a “beard”) on the lower part of the face. The hairs on the upper face, the mystax, and the beard are all yellow or yellowish-white. The antennae are short and have 3 segments. The third segment is elongated but is not subdivided by rings (annulated) and does not have a long bristle (arista).

The legs are stout. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments. The last segment has 2 pads.

On the wing, the anal cell is longer than the second basal cell and is closed near the wing margin.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

 

 
Adult Food

Bees and wasps

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

They buzz loudly when flying.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30, 82, 83.

 
Comments

 

 
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:

Asilinae

 

Tribe:

Asilini

 

Genus:

Promachus (giant robber flies)

 
Synonyms

Asilus laevinus

Asilus ultimus

Promachus philadelphicus

Trupanea bastardii

Trupanea rubiginis

 
Common
Names

false bee-killer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

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.

 

Tarsus

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

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Lindsay Freeland
       

the kids found it. Appeared to have an injured wing.

  false bee-killer    
       
       
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Other Videos
 
  Giant Robber Fly - Promachus Bastardii
Colette Micallef
 
   
 
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Giant Robber Fly - Promachus Bastardii
Liberty County Texas
June 23, 2014

   
       
       

 

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Lindsay Freeland
7/27/2020

Location: New London, MN

the kids found it. Appeared to have an injured wing.

false bee-killer


     
     
 
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Created: 8/23/2020

Last Updated:

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