Yesterday, I discussed a common group of flies that mimic bees and wasps. Here’s a more challenging mimic. This one is also a fly, but a pretty convincing fake bumble bee!

In fact, there is a whole genera of flies known as bee-like robber flies.  They typically are described as having a “beard” on their face.  Personally, I’d say it was more of a Vandyke goatee–but why quibble.

Robber flies are predatory flies, and can often be seen on a perch, looking for their next victim.   If you see something that looks like a bee lounging about on a leaf, it’s likely to be a robber fly.

You can find some truly amazing photos of a bee-like robber fly and it’s prey at CirrusImage.

Thanks to Ben.Lease for this photo!

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. Feel free to borrow photos from my Flickr site. They’ll be tagged Diptera and (usually) mimic.

  2. Good series, and just what I needed! I just posted a photo that may be a mimic. Can you look at it and give me a hint? It’s here.

  3. Another cool insect… I may try to get back at mines…

  4. Wow. I’m not so familiar with robber flies, they look absolutely cool with that beard.

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