Reader Mike McDowell sent us some splendid photos of dipterans—robber flies. His notes and IDs are indented.
Robber flies share some of the same microhabitats as tiger beetles, with the latter often falling prey to the former. Thus, when in the field photographing tiger beetles, I often come across a variety of robber flies. They’re equally as challenging to sneak up on, so it’s a lucky day when one can leave the field with great portraiture of both types of insects. For the uninitiated, robber flies have a spike-shaped proboscis that they jab into their prey and use it to inject saliva containing a mix of neurotoxins and enzymes that paralyze and digest the insides. The devilish fly then sucks out the liquefied meal through its proboscis. Nasty!The last two are genus Laphria, but unsure of species — perhaps a reader can identify them.