Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

I don’t take many photos of bumble bees because they are so ubiquitous around my yard.  So I don’t pay them much attention. BORING!

But one time I noticed a bumble bee on a flower that seemed interesting.  He was sitting on a flower and not collecting pollen.  So I took a closer look.


And what do you know, it’s a robber fly.  Notice the enormous bulbous eyes that protrude above the head.  Look at the long coarse hairs around the mouth and the thick piercing organ sticking out.  Notice the clear separation between the head and thorax.. Finally notice that the back legs lack any pollen baskets that a real bee possesses.

Here’s a blurry closeup of its head and thorax.

I remember reading in a book on close-up photography the author’s respect for the ferocity of robber flies.  He said something like “if robber flies were the size of dogs we would be afraid to ever leave our houses for fear of being eaten alive.  Sounds like a good premise for a science fiction story.

Robber flies come in various shapes and sizes and only a few are mimics of bumble bees.  But they all are ferocious predators and mostly hunt by ambushing their prey.in flight.  And if you are careless they’ll even give you a painful bite if you attempt to catch them by hand.

I’ve found several different types of the robber flies on my property and I find them very interesting.

I was able to get a close look at this one by using the magnified view that my Sony A7 III provides.  That means I didn’t have to get too close to see it.  These things are very skittish and it flew away before I could get close enough to do a naked eye visual.