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 Fly  Robber Fly

Robber Fly - Photo  Copyright 2008 Mike Lucie

Latin name: Machimus cingulatus

Size: Wingspan approximately 40mm.

Scattered populations throughout the UK.

Months seen: June to September.

Habitat: Grassland, woodland edges and coastal areas.

Food: Flying insects - especially flies and mosquitoes. The larvae feed on dead vegetation.

Special features: Robber flies, sometimes called Assassin flies, are predatory flies which chase other insects in mid-air.

They have stiff hairs on their faces to protect their eyes from struggling prey. Robber flies can also be distinguished from other flies by the deep groove between the eyes. The eyes never touch. Their wings fold flat over the body, and the legs are equipped with two pads at the end.

They often sit for long periods at a time, scanning the sky above them, before suddenly darting up (usually less than 100cm) to catch their prey. The prey is then squeezed between the legs and sucked dry with a long proboscis. 

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UK Safari Creepy-crawlies Section

  2008 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved