(Order Diptera: Family Asilidae) – Bee-like Robber Fly.
All robber flies are fierce predators of other flying insects – even bees and other robber flies. This genus mimics bumblebees by often being very hairy and similarly coloured, and this resemblance of the flies to stinging insects protects them from potential predators.
Adult flies have massive eyes and excellent vision. They catch prey with their bristly legs and jab it with their proboscis. They inject the prey with enzymes that digest the contents and then suck up the contents like milkshake through a straw. The hairs between the eyes are thought to protect their eyes from struggling prey.
Laphria fernaldi lives in the western mountains of North America, and is common in British Columbia. Watch for it on logs on beaches, where the larvae are predators of beetle larvae in rotting wood.
This particular specimen was collected by Harold Foxlee, a retired policeman who lived in Robson, and collected extensively in the West Kootenays during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. There are many specimens collected by Mr. Foxlee in the Royal BC Museum’s Entomology collection