robber fly

any of numerous swift-flying, often large, dipterous insects of the family Asilidae that are predaceous on other insects.
[1870-75]

* * *

or assassin fly

Any of about 4,000 species of predatory dipterans in the family Asilidae, found worldwide.

Robber flies are the largest of all dipterans; some species are 3 in. (8 cm) long. Most have a dull-coloured, stout body resembling that of a bumblebee and a moustache of bristles between the large-faceted eyes. They use their long legs to capture insects in flight and hold them while eating; a fluid injected into the victim breaks down muscle tissue. A few species are serious pests of apiaries.

Robber fly (Asilidae)

William E. Ferguson

* * *

insect
also called  assassin fly 
  any of about 6,750 species of predatory insects, worldwide in distribution, in the fly order, Diptera. Robber flies range in length to almost 8 cm (3 inches), making them the largest of all flies. Most are dull in colour, and their stout, often hairy, bodies resemble those of bumble bees. Between the large-faceted eyes is a moustache of bristles. The long legs are adapted to capture prey in flight and to hold it while eating.

      The robber fly is a predator of almost all flying insects. It injects a fluid into its victims that breaks down the muscle tissue. A few species of the genus Promachus are serious pests of apiaries because they feed on bees. Each species has a characteristic habitat—e.g., tree trunk, foliage, grass, low plant, dead twig, gravel, or beach sand.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Robber fly — Robber Rob ber, n. One who robs; in law, one who feloniously takes goods or money from the person of another by violence or by putting him in fear. [1913 Webster] Some roving robber calling to his fellows. Milton. [1913 Webster] Syn: Thief;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • robber fly — n. any of a large family (Asilidae) of hairy dipterous flies of varying size that prey on other insects …   English World dictionary

  • robber fly — Hornet Hor net, n. [AS. hyrnet; akin to OHG. hornaz, hornuz, G. horniss; perh. akin to E. horn, and named from the sound it makes as if blowing the horn; but more prob. akin to D. horzel, Lith. szirszone, L. crabo.] (Zo[ o]l.) A large, strong… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • robber fly — noun a large predatory fly which darts out and grabs insect prey on the wing. [Family Asilidae.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • robber fly — rob′ber fly n. ent any of numerous, often large, dipterous insects of the family Asilidae that are predaceous on other insects • Etymology: 1870–75 …   From formal English to slang

  • robber fly — noun swift predatory fly having a strong body like a bee with the proboscis hardened for sucking juices of other insects captured on the wing • Syn: ↑bee killer • Hypernyms: ↑dipterous insect, ↑two winged insects, ↑dipteran, ↑dipteron • Member… …   Useful english dictionary

  • robber fly — noun Date: 1871 any of a family (Asilidae) of predaceous dipteran flies including some resembling bumblebees …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • robber fly — /ˈrɒbə flaɪ/ (say robuh fluy) noun any of the swift, often large, flies constituting the family Asilidae, that prey on other insects …   Australian English dictionary

  • Manx robber fly — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta …   Wikipedia

  • Robber — Rob ber, n. One who robs; in law, one who feloniously takes goods or money from the person of another by violence or by putting him in fear. [1913 Webster] Some roving robber calling to his fellows. Milton. [1913 Webster] Syn: Thief; depredator;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.