Sunday, 14 February 2016

Giant Robbers!

This has been a strange year in the northern tropics. There has been no wet season at all. A few showers here and there but nothing approaching a normal wet. To the west, there has been a few good showers that have greened up the outback but no monsoonal drops at all.

Insect populations seem to be unusual as well. A recent few nights in the Daintree resulted in huge hauls of insects at the light sheets. But these were of a few species represented hundreds of individuals. Daintree lightsheets are usually quite sparse.

A lightsheet in the Daintree. Most of the moths represent a couple of species. B Richardson photo

This summer has seen large numbers of the very large robberfly (ca. 40 mm) identified by Greg Daniels as probably Dolopus genitalis (Hardy).

Robberflies are predaceous insects. They catch other insects, including robberflies, on the wing. Most species are diurnal, but a few Australian ones are active at night. These big fellows seem to prefer dark areas and will enter houses if doors and windows are left open. Their buzzing attracts attention but being a good Samaritan can result in a painful bite. The mouthparts are an effective syringe which conveys a concoction of painful chemicals. If they have to be handled, the flies can be dealt with effectively if grasped from the side, thereby, avoiding the beak coming into contact with the finger.

1 comment:

Susan said...

That robber fly is a beauty! Great to see.