Robber Fly

Saropogon mohawki

Saropogon mohawki photo © by Mike Plagens

This robber fly, about 10 mm in length, was observed in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA in August 2008. Many robber fly species are considerably large than this one. Identification was made by Eric Fisher of California Dept. Food & Agriculture.

Asilidae -- Robber Fly Family

In the Lilliputian world of insects, asilids (robber flies) are top predators. Notice the stout beak-like proboscis and the rapturous talon-like claws on the tarsi. Indeed, like miniature falcons or accipiters these flies capture flying insect prey on the wing holding them secure with their tarsal claws and delivering fatal bites with the proboscis. There are many species of robber flies common in the Sonoran Desert. Many perch on prominent lookouts such as a boulder or a piece of wood along washes. They sally out and capture a passing insect, often larger than themselves. Some species resemble bees and actually prey on bees.

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 Sept. 2008,
updated 10 March 2022.