I'm naturally thinking this is a bee, but I cannot find it anywhere in any insect identifiers. I caught this picture on top of my doorway, it's about 1 1/2 inches in length, and its torso seems to be coated in a layer of hair, and the rest of its body is narrow. The thick layer of hair may or may not be accurate, I didn't want to get too close to it, but that's how it appeared at least.

Unidentified Insect enter image description here enter image description here

What is this?

PS - Found in Kentucky, and I'm not sure why one pic shows wings and the other one doesn't...

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well I can suggest why the wings are not seen in two of the pictures. From the shadows it is obvious you have not used the flash. Under natural low light the shutter remains open for a longer time and any movement of the wings will blur it. In the third picture you must have got when the wings were not moving. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ Well I was using a camera phone $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ It's a red-footed robber fly, check out those lateral stripes and the red/yellow leg segments $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 3:46

3 Answers 3


From the general body plan, it looks like it's probably a robber fly. Here's a page of specifically Kentucky robber flies – it's possible yours could be a Bearded Robber Fly.

  • $\begingroup$ That looks about right $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ It is most certainly a Robber Fly. I would agree with Oreotrephes that it is a Bearded. I can't seem to find anything closer. $\endgroup$
    – Zachary H
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ My first idea as well, but the picture is probably to unclear for a certain species determination. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 10:45

Yes, I would say that is a bearded robber fly. Robber flies are similar to dragonflies in that they catch prey by catching it in midair. They will attack mostly bees, wasps, and hornets, and I have seen many catching bumblebees in the wild. I have even seen some sit near a yellow jacket nest and catch a hornet when it comes out. They suck out the juices of their prey with a proboscis using methods similar to spiders. They will also bite when handled, as I have found out through experience.


It is commonly called as "Robber fly" or "assassin fly". Scientifically it is "Asilidae" of the order "Diptera" and it is a fast attacking predator mostly preying on grasshopper nymphs and damsel flies. It is strongly built for kill. http://www.robberflies.info/keyger/htmle/didpic.html

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    $\begingroup$ Can you provide some references for your answer? Please read the help for this site, in particular here where you can know how to write a good answer. $\endgroup$
    – ddiez
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asilidae $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ Also posting a separate image of your ID is important to allow other usres assess your answer $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 21:07

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