Robber Flies eat fellow bugs from the larvae to the grownup stage in certainly one of Nature’s most fastidiously crafted mechanisms
All through my life, and I’m afraid to say, even till someday after I used to be launched to nature and wildlife, I had the misunderstanding that bugs have been depending on vegetation for meals. In 2016, I found the vicious Robber Fly on the Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Gurugram. With over 7,000 species described, the world of those Robber Flies, is so numerous that a complete household, Asilidae, has been created for them. They’re named for his or her feeding behaviour: they ‘rob’ different bugs of their lives!
They arrive in numerous colors however the ones present in Delhi-NCR are largely brown and black. Though people might solely be capable to see two massive compound eyes on heads of Robber Flies, they do have three small easy eyes (referred to as ocelli) wedged between these two massive eyes. There’s additionally a bristly moustache — greater than a vogue assertion, this deters struggling prey from inflicting injury to the Robber Fly.
Their agile flight, impeccable eyesight, fast reflexes, and powerful spiny legs assist them catch bugs in flight: different flies, beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies, moths, carnivorous dragonflies. They even feast on spiders generally. They pierce their sturdy dagger-like proboscis (tubular straw-like organ to soak up meals) into their prey, often between the top and thorax, to subdue them. They inject victims with their saliva containing neurotoxic enzymes to paralyze, and proteolytic enzymes to liquify the innards of their prey. They then fly off with the prey between their legs to an undisturbed department, the place they suck the innards by the proboscis.
They patiently stalk different bugs from vantage factors and make a swift but sleek, silent flight on the primary opening they see It took me nearly two years to really see this opportunistic murderer hunt one other black fly in air. This behaviour has additionally introduced them their different title: Murderer Flies.
Like all bugs, they too have a three-segmented physique: head, thorax, and stomach. The females lay eggs utilizing an ovipositor hooked up to the stomach, a tubular organ that helps them retailer and lay eggs. The eggs are laid in vegetation near the bottom or in nooks and crannies of soil or picket barks.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae usually lives in soil or in wooden and is predatory in nature, feeding on eggs and larvae of different bugs. In brief, the species in each larvae in addition to the grownup stage is a bane for different beings. As a way to face up to the intense winter, Robber Flies typically overwinter within the soil as larvae or as pupa earlier than rising after they really feel that the weather conditions are beneficial.
I all the time thought I’d must be within the wilder areas of town to see this magnificent creature however I just lately noticed it in an city park in entrance of my home.
These predators preserve a fragile stability within the meals chain and in addition assist rid your yard of pests. Members on our nature trails have additionally witnessed Robber Flies being hunted by greater dragonflies within the neighborhood, however these cases are uncommon.
The author is the founding father of NINOX – Owl About Nature, a nature-awareness initiative. He’s the Delhi-NCR reviewer for Ebird, a Cornell College initiative, monitoring uncommon sightings of birds. He previously led a programme of WWF India.