Drhoz! (drhoz) wrote in wtf_nature,
Drhoz!
drhoz
wtf_nature

Blepharotes

An attempt at a passable WTF_nature post - hopefully educational, witty, with a nice picture. Nightmare inducing & more killer rep for Australia a bonus.

Disappointingly, my lack of a camera at the time, and the understandable reluctance of a large carnivore to hang around with the kind of person who says "hey, large carnivore in my van with me, where's the camera?", I missed out on getting lots of lovely photos of a very VERY large and very pretty Blepharotes coriarius.

"'What is a Blepharotes coriarius?' I hear you ask."

Imagine a fly, the size of the palm of your hand. Make it hairy, and a vivid black, white, and orange colour scheme. Give it googly eyes as big as the rest of it's head, a charming white handlebar moustache and a beak as thick as a pencil lead with which she stabs her prey in the chest and injects nerve poisons & digestive enzymes.

Blepharotes

When the beautiful example I encountered flew in my van window that day, my initial reaction was a WTF? and some panic. Upon closer examination, and realisation that she was a something that probably wouldn't kill me with one stab ( this IS Australia after all, it's worth making sure ), I was delighted.

And this was a female, btw - I handled her quite carefully, as you imagine, since being stabbed full of acidic saliva can ruin your whole day, but she conned me by pretending she was unconscious and made a dash for the open door.

Robber flies are superbly agile predators of other flying insects - they're quite common perched on fences and clothes-lines, watching for some unsuspecting bee to fly past and get the shock of it's life. Well, what's left of it's life, anyway, when the robber fly drops on it out of the sun, grabs it, and stabs it in the back with digestive venom. I'm not sure what ones this big feed on. Small pelicans, possibly.

some more info on related species here

http://www.amonline.net.au/collections/entomology/record.cfm?id=59

Tags: australia, insect
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