Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Robber Fly does lunch

Hopefully the title will indicate, to those of a gentle disposition, that this post contains a little gruesomeness.

While on a prowl to photograph whatever was around to be photographed on our block I noticed a large insect fly off from some daisies apparently carrying something.  It then landed on a Lilium leaf and, very unusually for an insect, paused for me to look at it and examine it.
The main player is a Robber Fly (Order Diptera, family Asilidae) and it has caught a small scarab beetle.  Zborowski and Storey comment that prey are captured on the wing: in this case I assume the scarab - possibly Phyllotocus sp? - had been feeding on the daisy flowers.

The final image shows how the fly has rammed its rostrum between the thorax and abdomen of the beetle.  This is a weak point in the design of the beetles.

Eventually the fly took off bearing its cargo to a site with greater privacy.

2 comments:

Denis Wilson said...

Excellent imagery, Martin.
I have tried the occasional shot of such events, but never as successfully as yours.
Cheers
Denis

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Denis. Pure brass - or something like that!

There are a number of images on http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_robbers/Robbers.htm of these flies doing their business on various other insects.

Martin