August is a good month to look for robber-flies. These animals are active predators that catch other insects on the wing. They act a bit like hawker dragonflies i.e. they sit on leaves watching and waiting and then shoot out and catch their prey when it passes by. This is the kite-tailed robber-fly Machimus atricapillus.
This is one of the medium sized robber-flies – it is identified from other species as it has brown coloration on the femur (the thigh). It is quite a common species on heaths and dry grasslands. This individual was photographed at Hembury Woods.
The speciality robber fly at Hembury is the hornet robber-fly Asilus carbroniformis – a huge species with a yellow tail – unfortunately no sign of that species on my last visit….. – will have to go again!