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Insect thick-shake anyone?

November 20, 2012

If you have been accosted recently by a fly-like insect the size of a small helicopter then you have probably encountered a robber fly (family Asilidae). Don’t kill it. It is an important natural weapon in the effort to keep insect pest populations down.

Highly predatory, robber flies use their legs to catch insects while in flight. The stout bristles in the moustache, which are a feature of the fly are designed to protect the eyes and face from the legs of the flailing prey. The flies paralyse their prey by puncturing them with their short proboscis and injecting saliva. The saliva also has the effect of dissolving the victims from the inside out. The robber flies then simply suck out the juices – just like an insect thick-shake, only crunchy.

And a word from the insect fashionistas: if you’re going to draw attention to yourself by wearing three pairs of bright yellow shoes the least you could do is to wax your legs.

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