robber fly in the rain, facing the camera

Hang Loose

a fly with long hairy legs and large eyes on a car

Look. At. This. Bug!

Alright, it’s not a true “bug” (Order Hemiptera), but a type of fly called a robber fly. They’re predators that eat a variety of other insects. That’s impressive, but even more so is that this particular guy or gal is a hanging thief robber fly. Which invites even more web exploration.

Hanging thieves are named that because, after they catch prey, they hang by their first two legs while manipulating and eating their prey with their other four legs! I wish I could see it in person - but here’s a photo taken by Judy Gallagher in Everglades National Park:

robbery fly hanging and eating prey - by Judy Gallagher

Image of hanging thief eating what I think is a bee by Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, robber flies can deliver a painful bite if you mishandle them. So if you decide to pick one up, be gentle! 

One more photo of a hanging thief that was trapped in a window at the grocery store. A teenage boy let it crawl on his hand and took it outside. No bites!

robber fly on a hand

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