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The Robber Flies (Diptera: Asilidae) of Virginia USA

Last updated about 4 years ago

This list is based on P. Bedell. 2010. A Preliminary List of the Robber Flies (Diptera: Asilidae) of Virginia. Banisteria 36: 3-19.

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    Laphria sacrator

    A Robber Fly

    Another northern Laphria found in Virginia in the higher elevations of the western portion of the state. My specimens are from Highland County.

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    Laphria saffrana

    One of our most distinctive robber flies. Found in areas of sandy soils and pine woods, mostly in the southeastern portion of Virginia.

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    Laphria sericea

    A Robber Fly

    A beautiful golden-colored species. Very similar to L. aktis.

  • Laphria sicula

    Of the three very similar small black Laphria, this is the one in my experience that is the most common and widespread. This species also occurs in my wooded yard, perching low in the understory on leaves.

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    Laphria thoracica

    A Robber Fly

    This medium sized species is fairly common and widespread in Virginia. Like many other Laphria, can be seen in deciduous woods in the Spring to early Summer. The amount of yellow on the abdomen seems to be variable. The yellow hairs on the legs are a deeper reddish-golden color than the yellow of the thorax.

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    Laphria virginica

    Similar to L. flavicollis in the black abdomen, but a good look will reveal the black scutellar hairs of this species. Fairly common in woods in the spring and early summer.

  • Laphria winnemana

    A Robber Fly

    A small black woodland Laphria similar to L. canis and L. sicula. Most records (except for one Fairfax Co. specimen at NMNH) are from western Virginia.

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    Laphystia litoralis

    Common on ocean beaches.

  • Lasiopogon appalachensis

    This recently described species was found to be fairly common on the streambed rocks of the Russell Fork River at Breaks Interstate Park in Dickenson County.

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    Lasiopogon marshalli

    One of our earliest robber flies, occurring as early as the first week of April. Found along sunny stream banks and sandbars where it perches on the ground or on rocks.

  • Lasiopogon opaculus

    A Robber Fly

  • Lasiopogon slossonae

  • Lasiopogon terricolus

    More of a northeastern species. The reddish-yellow legs are different than all of our other Lasiopogons here. Found on bare sandy areas.

  • Lasiopogon woodorum

  • Leptogaster atridorsalis

    Scattered records around the state. Probably a hard to find species. The black dorsal thorax is distinctive.

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    Leptogaster brevicornis

    A Robber Fly

    This is the most frequently encountered Leptogaster in Virginia in my experience.

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    Leptogaster flavipes

    A species of dry oak woods. Most of my records are in June. Flies in the shade of low understory. Very small and inconspicuous. I have observed these in my yard, but it takes a lot of looking, and the neighbors surely look dimly on my activity.

    Scarbrough, A. G., & G. Sipes. 1973. The biology of Leptogaster flavipes (Lowe) in Maryland (Diptera: Asilidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 75: 441-448.
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    Leptogaster incisuralis

    A Robber Fly

    There are museum records for three counties in Virginia. Otherwise, seems to be a seldom encountered or photographed species.

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    Leptogaster virgata

    A Robber Fly

    Perhaps best sampled by malaise traps. The three shining black lines on the dorsum of the thorax are distinctive in the field.

  • Machimus antimachus

    Not many records, but they are scattered around the state, and from late May into October.

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    Machimus autumnalis

    A rather yellowish Machimus. And it is not restricted to the fall season as the name implies.

  • Machimus erythocnemius

    Records are from mid to late summer.

  • Machimus johnsoni

    A little known species. There are two specimens from Virginia at the NMNH.

  • Machimus lecythus

    My specimens were collected in rank riparian vegetation or unmowed grasslands.

  • Machimus maneei

    A small Machimus with entirely black legs. I don't see these much in the field, but malaise traps run by Arthur Evans capture these in good numbers.

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    Machimus notatus

    A Robber Fly

    One of our most common and widespread robber flies. Occurs from mid-May into August.

  • Machimus novaescotiae

    A Robber Fly

    In Virginia, this species is fairly common and widespread. My most frequently encountered Machimus after aestuans.

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    Machimus paropus

    A more northern species, perhaps reaching its southern limit in northern Virginia. Museum specimens are from Fairfax County only.

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    Machimus sadyates

    A Robber Fly

    This seems to be species of the western part of the state, especially at higher elevations. My specimens are from riparian vegetation.

  • Machimus snowii

    A Robber Fly

    Only a few records for Virginia spanning 6 July -25 September. Norm Lavers says that in Arkanasas it is a late season asilid, and its habitat is shady, wet woods. Perhaps I have not seen it as I haven't looked in what seems very unasilid-like habitqat.

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    Machimus virginicus

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    Mallophora orcina

    A large bee mimic often mistaken for a Laphria. A mid-summer species occuring after most Laphria are done for the year.

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    Megaphorus clausicellus

    A small bee-mimic of meadows. There are not many records, but maybe its just overlooked.

  • Megaphorus laphroides

    A southern species found in Virginia only in the southeast. There are only two records for the state, both from Virginia Beach, and from late summer.

  • Neoitamus orphne

    A Robber Fly

    A fairly common species in the western portion of the state in similar habitats as its congener.

  • Neomochtherus angustipennis

    The lone specimen at the NMNH from “Barcroft, Va” includes a pupal case, and was collected from under a pine tree.

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    Neomochtherus auricomus

    A Robber Fly

    Rare in Virginia based on the few museum records. I have not seen or collected one. Apparently a late summer and autumn species.

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    Nicocles pictus

    An unusual cold-tolerant species. Can be observed in the fall from November and on warm winter days even in January. Most numerous in early Spring from March into April. Apparently overwinters as an adult. Prefers to perch on the endbud of a large twig.

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    Nicocles politus

    Apparently a late summer and autumn species. I have not managed to see this one.

  • Ommatius floridensis

    Our records are all from the Coastal Plain and Piedmont regions. None from the mountain region. A summer species with the last date around 1 August.

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    Ommatius gemma

    The smallest member of the genus in Virginia, but still needs to be identified by magnification. I can't distinguish the different species in the field, even though the genus can easily be recognized by the feathery antennae. Fairly common.

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    Ommatius ouachitensis

    The only Virginia specimen is from Great Falls on 23 June. The population in Montgomery Co., Maryland, and this adjacent record from Virginia, may represent an isolated eastern population of this mostly Midwestern species (Bullington & Lavigne, 1984)

    Bullington, S. W., & R. J. Lavigne. 1984. Review of the genus Ommatius Wiedemann (Diptera: Asilidae) in eastern United States with descriptions of five new species. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 77: 372-392.
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    Ommatius tibialis

    The most common member of the genus in Virginia in my experience. Rather like Neoitamus in that it perches horizontally on twigs and small branches, and is about the same size.

  • Ommatius wilcoxi

    A paratype specimen in the Virginia Tech Department of Entomology collection was captured at Presquile National Wildlife Refuge (Chesterfield Co.) on 6 August 1971.

  • Orthogonis stygia

    A very rare species discovered in Virginia by a photo by Arthur V. Evans. Repeated trips to the location have not yet found another.

    See Art's blog at
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    Philonicus fuscatus

    A riparian species found on streambed rocks, riparian vegetation, and sand and gravel bars. A mid-summer species found after Lasiopogon is done for the year.

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    Pogonosoma dorsatum

    A black-winged species found on downed logs in pine woods of sandy soils.

  • Polacantha gracilis

    A red-legged species found in Virginia primarily in the southeast.

  • Proctacanthus brevipennis

    A fairly large and common species in the southeastern part of Virginia on sandy soils where it perches on the ground.

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    Proctacanthus heros

    The largest robber fly in Virginia. Few records, but found mostly in the southeastern part of the state.