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Robber Fly - L. astur (Laphria astur)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Robber Fly - L. astur



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Image Credit: Steve B.
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A fast-flying bee mimic, the fuzzy and buzzing Laphria astur is a fly that sometimes sends people needlessly dodging for cover.



Updated: 07/09/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Agile airborne predators, Robber Flies are quick, large, and fierce when it comes to capturing a meal. Robber Flies 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 Robber Fly 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. Misidentifying the Robber Fly as a large, stinging bee is common. It is hairy, black, and yellow with brown-tinted wings. The flight speed of the Robber Fly is faster than a bee though, and its buzzing noise is a bit louder. In a quick second, such small distinctions can be lost on people worried about getting stung.

Robber Flies 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 Robber Flies allow 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.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Asilidae
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          Genus: Laphria
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            Species: astur
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Laphria astur
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 22mm (0.59" to 0.86")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, black, brown
Descriptors: fast, loud, buzz, bee-like, hairy, fuzzy, beard, flying
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 15mm (0.6in) and 22mm (0.9in)
Lo: 15mm
Md: 18.5mm
Hi: 22mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
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State of Delware graphic
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State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
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State of North Carolina graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Robber Fly - L. astur may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Robber Fly - L. astur. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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