What can you tell me about this big flying insect?
July 28, 2012 10:16 PM   Subscribe

Insect identification - what can you tell me about this flying beast? (good pic inside)

Pic here. It was an inch long or maybe a little more. It had a somewhat erratic fly-like flight pattern rather than the woozy smooth flight of a bee. As you can see it has black armor on its legs and quite the black eyes, as well as plenty of golden hair on its stout legs and body. It sat on various leaves, grooming itself. It has strange little "feet." Wondering why they are that shape. Didn't notice it eating anything. This was in a veggie garden in Burnaby, BC, today. I couldn't find anything like it on an insect ID site or by Google image search.
posted by Listener to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Probably a robber fly. If not then browse elswhere on that site - look at the true flies as well as wasps & bees. Despite the colouring, I think it's a fly.
posted by Rumple at 11:18 PM on July 28, 2012

Unless there's a second pair of wings there that aren't showing up in the picture, it's definitely a fly of some kind rather than a bee or wasp. Flies are the only insects with only one pair of wings. It certainly looks a lot like the robber fly Rumple posted, but it's a tad furrier; might be another species in the same genus? Might just be phenotypic variation within the same species though too. Perhaps one of our resident entymologists will turn up and settle the matter.
posted by Scientist at 11:38 PM on July 28, 2012

Mystery solved. Thanks! Looks like it was that very species, as well.
posted by Listener at 8:48 AM on July 29, 2012

I was trying to find some easy information on the Robber fly lifestyle, to help explain their "feet". But generally, as insect predators, they have to be able to grasp their prey and then deliver the jab of death with their mouth parts. Here's a cute little article about an entymologist who studies them.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:54 AM on July 29, 2012

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