A fast-flying bee mimic, fuzzy and buzzing Laphria astur is a Robberfly that may have people needlessly dodging for cover.
Agile airborne predators, Robberflies are quick, large, fierce when it comes to capturing a meal. Robberflies eat other flying insects like beetles, bees, and flies. They sit still on leaves or branches, waiting for prey to fly nearby. Once a target is spotted, the Robberfly darts to it, intercepts it, and quickly kills it, stealing it out of the sky. The meal is eaten on the ground or in a nearby tree.
Laphria astur has the overall appearance of a bumble bee. It is black and yellow with brown-tinted wings. The flight speed of the Robberfly is faster than a bee though, and its buzzing noise is a bit louder. In a quick second, such small distinctions are lost on people worried about getting stung. Misidentifying the Robberfly as a large, stinging bee is common.
Robberflies have short antennae and slender bodies that taper at the tip of the abdomen. A long beak at the front of the face is used for spearing insects. If you hear one, try to follow it to its resting perch. Many Robberflies will let people get a closer look before jetting off to a more obscure lookout point. This particular species resides in the northwestern states and provinces of the continent.
Scientific Name: Laphria astur
Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 22mm (0.59in to 0.86in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.