Flying Wolf-With 6 Legs

A wolf with six legs. Actually, a flying wolf with six legs. This six-legged creature in these pictures hunts in prairies during the summer. No fangs, just a needle like mouth that can pierce its prey. Wolf like in another way, it catches its prey on the move-flying actually. It never tears its prey apart. It injects a saliva like liquid containing neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes. The inside of its prey is liquified! This predator drinks a liquid meal. Wolf like in another way, it preys on creatures larger than itself: bumblebees, wasps, even dragonflies. It perches in a location with easy flight access to prey. Just slightly concealed, when prey flies by it springs into the air capturing its meal midair. The venomous bite is quickly given and the prey just as quickly immobilized. They have insect killing venom. It kills their prey but not them. They can eat poison and live.

No wolf, it has no fur, no howl, no fangs, just lethal venom and strong wings with large bristly legs to grasp its prey. Our predator is the assassin or robber fly.    DSC_0197_360sig                                                                                                                              ( Asilidae)

Between 5,000 and 7, 000 species of robber fly exist worldwide. 900-1000 of these live in North America. With so many species, it would seem likely that most people would know of these carnivorous insects. The truth is most people never see them. Robber flies are experts in concealment.

The compound eyes of this skilled invertebrate assassin enable it to see prey in almost all directions. Some Robber flies make a distinct buzz when they fly.

Soon they will lay eggs in the earth beneath their hunting ground. Robber fly larva are predators too. They consume the eggs and larva of other invertebrates sharing the soil that is home to both. They pupate in spring to become adults or the wolves of the summer air over a prairie.DSC_0236_378sig

Robber flies also give testimony. Not in words. By their presence in an ecosystem. While other flies have mouth parts that sponge their food, the robber fly stabs and injects venom to liquify the insides of its victim! They can drink poison and live. They have specialized legs for grasping prey, even a bearded mouth to protect its head. The solitary insect wolf of the prairie, the robber fly by its presence gives magnificent testimony to a Creator.

The Psalmist stated in Psalm 135 that God is greater than any other and “the Lord does whatever pleases”

I know the greatness of the Lord—that our Lord is greater than any other god. The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths. He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. Psalm 135:5-7

The robber fly greatly pleases this human. It is a living fighter plane with 6 legs.  It certainly pleases its Creator-He said so.

 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25


Author: davidwellis

What does a grandfather, husband, former public school teacher and Education Specialist for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with many life experiences in nature do with them? A naturalist with a camera-makes outside a daily destination. My confidence is that God will guide my words, and photos. We live in a magnificent world, come and look at it with me through eyes, lens and words. To God be the glory. Current Profile Photo- Prickly Ash, the name summarizes this brushy undergrowth well. It fascinates me with its thorny branches. Seeing a vine wrapped around the trunk called for a photo.