I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of dragonflies recently; Not only are they beautiful, but it really helps to have a picture when trying to ID them. Recently, I was a Horsepen Run, when I came across what I thought was one dragonfly eating another one; I had heard that it is not uncommon, but I hadn’t seen it in person before. I just got a quick look before the eater flew off and the ‘dragonfly’ doing the eating didn’t look right. I snapped a picture and figured I would try and ID it when I got home. Here’s the picture:
As you can tell from the caption, it wasn’t a dragonfly, but is actually was a very large robber fly called the Red-footed Cannibalfly (Promachus rufipes). That’s one heck of a fly! The genus Promachus‘s greek translation is ‘who leads in battle’ – it certainly seems appropriate for such a giant fly that can take on dragonflies. Robberflies get their common name because of their aggressive nature and tactics – they generally wait for their prey to fly by and then stick them up – well, they stick the prey with their proboscis. Through their proboscis they inject a neurotoxin (to paralyze) and digestive enzymes. There have even been reports of them trying to eat hummingbirds!