Mating robber flies with prey

Images of undisturbed subjects in their natural environment. All subject types.

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SteveB
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:12 pm
Location: Pretoria South Africa

Mating robber flies with prey

Post by SteveB »

Earlier this year I posted a picture of a mating pair of robber flies where the female ( I think ) was feeding on a butterfly she had caught. I thought this was very unusual - maybe even a once in a lifetime photo. Lou Jost replied on the thread that this is a well documented behaviour of this kind of insect. Females of many species can be bad tempered when they are hungry, but it seems that robber fly males try to take extra care to be careful.

Anyway summer is summer again and bugs are still bugs. I on the other hand have recently got a pair of Pentax papilio ii close focusing binoculars which have made it massively more easy for me to observe insects just going about their daily lives. There is a thread about them in the equipment section where I first learned about them. I wish I had known about them years ago, they really have had a huge impact on my enjoyment of the "great outdoors". I don't know if I would have bothered to photograph either of these situations if I had not first checked them out through the binoculars.

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In both cases it is the female (I think) with the prey and she also decides where the pair are going. The male is also flying when they move, but in a sense just hanging on.

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My wife wishes I would respect the insect's privacy more, but I hope others find this interesting.

ChrisR
Site Admin
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:58 am
Location: Near London, UK

Post by ChrisR »

Nice finds!
I have to admit that when I read "My wife wishes ", for a split second I wondered what was to follow ;)
Chris R

Yawns
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:18 am
Location: Benavente, Portugal

Post by Yawns »

Wonderful ... I have envy, never got a scene like this.
Action shots are always very interesting.
YAWNS _ (Y)et (A)nother (W)onderful (N)ewbie (S)hooting

santiago
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:56 am
Location: Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Post by santiago »

Nice find, it's praying on a bee.
Probably the mating process just goes on, right? Or is it somehow put "on hold" or delayed? (don't think so...)
Santiago
Flickr

SteveB
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:12 pm
Location: Pretoria South Africa

Post by SteveB »

Thanks ChrisR sorry for that moment of anxiety. Thanks Yawns. For me a huge part of the "magic' of in the field photography is the fact that one can be surprised at any moment. Strangely, it would seem to me that it is quite difficult to notice things that are completely unexpected. Once one has noticed a thing once, one often tends to see that same thing more often.

Thanks Santiago, although I have not actually seen it, I think that the female was already feeding before being approached by the male. The feeding robber fly in the first picture dropped the bee after a while but they continued flying around as a pair. I don't think it was because of me. From what I've seen, mating insects carry on with their lives as much as possible. Butterflies certainly carry on feeding on flowers and I even saw a pair roosting for the night while still together.

MarkSturtevant
Posts: 798
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:52 pm
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.

Post by MarkSturtevant »

Great finds! Its the chance to see 'biology' like this that makes the hobby so much fun. Keeps me going out there.
I should check out those binocs.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

SteveB
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:12 pm
Location: Pretoria South Africa

Post by SteveB »

Thanks MarkSturtevant. I also think that the chance for wonder and surprise is much more accessible in macro photography than in wildlife photography where one is going for larger animals.

I really think you would enjoy those binocs. If you're not actually wanting to take a picture, the binoculars are better than a camera for just observing a scene. They are very light, and have a much bigger working distance and depth of field than what I see through my camera. The stereoscopic view is hard to describe - maybe a bit like watching a 3D movie. I suppose they might not work out for you, but I have never bought any optical anything that has given me so much pleasure. You see more, but are also more able to make sense of what you see. It's strange to me that Pentax has not advertised them a lot more and also that other manufacturers have also not developed similar products.

santiago
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:56 am
Location: Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Post by santiago »

SteveB wrote:Thanks Santiago, although I have not actually seen it, I think that the female was already feeding before being approached by the male. The feeding robber fly in the first picture dropped the bee after a while but they continued flying around as a pair. I don't think it was because of me. From what I've seen, mating insects carry on with their lives as much as possible. Butterflies certainly carry on feeding on flowers and I even saw a pair roosting for the night while still together.
Very interesting, thanks for the information.
Santiago
Flickr

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