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Kite-tailed Robber Fly Machimus atricapillus

The Kite-tailed Robber Fly is among the most common Robber Fly species, both in Holland and Belgium as in Britain. It is greyish brown black and measures 14 to 18 millimeters. It is extremely similar to the Brown Heather Robber Fly. There are a few characteristics to look at though. First of all the proturbance below the antennae is black. The legs are bicoloured, but the brown patches never come in nicely placed rings, but are more or less scattered. There are fewer of them, but they are much bigger than in the Brown Heather Robber Fly. Also look at the last part of the body, but just before the genitals. Here the male of the Kite-tailed Robber Fly has a distinct tab. The female has a bunch of hairs on exactly the same spot.

The Kite-tailed Robber Fly is often seen carrying a prey. It eats rather slowly. The white larvae live in the ground, where they hunt for other insect larvae, worms etc. The larva overwinters and pupates by the end of spring. Adults are seen from June to September. A very common species all over Europe, even including the Canary Islands.