June 29, 2022

New Asilidae Forum

This is a modified copy of the message I sent out to the Asilidae mailing list, for those not included in that:

I have created a new forum for discussing topics and sharing files on Asilidae. It uses Slack (https://slack.com/), a free browser-based or desktop/mobile app for team collaboration. Some of the features of Slack are: real-time text messaging, voice chat, document sharing, etc.

Currently, the intent is that this forum will be restricted to asilid workers, or at least folks with a specific and keen interest in Asilidae. If this is something that would interest you, please send me a private message (iNat or my gmail works fine) with your preferred email address and I will send you an invite. Note: you will not be able to access this Slack workspace without an invitation.

cc @christopherswan @stevecollins @coolcrittersyt @stevekerr @jtweed @hr_dragonfly @b_coulter @pbedell

Posted on June 29, 2022 06:37 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 29, 2021

Mysterious or Undescribed Asilidae Genera on iNat

This post is intended to collate observations of asilid genera that are either undescribed or that are currently unidentified and particularly noteworthy. It will be updated periodically, similar to my list of Asilidae observations stuck at superfamily or above. More genera will be added to this list in the near future, so check back regularly! I would welcome any thoughts on the identity of these taxa.

Name: Asilidae gen 1
Status: unidentified
Distribution: New Caledonia
Notes: Looks similar to Willistonina or Trichoura. Alternatively, might be related to Bathypogon (which would also make more sense geographically).


Name: Asilidae gen 2
Status: unidentified
Distribution: Uruguay
Notes: I suspect something in Dasypogoninae or something related to Scylaticodes/Euthrixius.


Name: Asilidae gen 3
Status: unidentified
Distribution: Brazil
Notes: I suspect either Aczelia-group of Dasypogoninae or perhaps something related to Prolepsis.


Name: Asilidae gen 4
Status: undescribed [probably]
Distribution: Australia
Notes: I suspect it belongs to Dasypogoninae, Thereutria-Rachiopogon group


Name: Asilidae gen 5
Status: unidentified
Distribution: Argentina
Notes: Dasypogoninae or 'Brachyrhopalinae', perhaps


Name: Asilinae gen 1
Status: unidentified
Distribution: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay
Notes: See my comment here.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/102260555 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65834064 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/100292200 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20403845 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103907878 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103700917 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103495426 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/101568326 |
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103211408 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106068180 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106935677 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106951723 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/107280185 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/108965440

Name: Laphystiini gen 1
Status: unidentified
Distribution: Brazil
Notes: I need to take this through a key.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/98595514 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/98595512 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/98413610

Name: Laphriinae gen 1
Status: unidentified
Distribution: Namibia
Notes: Currently at a loss with this one.


Name: Laphriinae gen 2
Status: unidentified
Distribution: Argentina
Notes: I suspect Laphystiini. I'll need to take this through a key.


Name: Dasypogoninae gen 1 (Paramonov m.s.)
Status: undescribed
Distribution: Australia
Notes: Recovered in a clade with Neosaropogon, Brachyrhopala, and Chrysopogon by Cohen et al. (2021). Probably closely related to Harpagobroma.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/102798080 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75449726 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/69829643 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67991632 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/64905573 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/61913985 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/10985804

Name: Dasypogoninae gen 2 (Paramonov m.s.)
Status: undescribed
Distribution: Australia
Notes: Recovered as sister to Austrosaropogon by Cohen et al. (2021). May be congeneric with Austrosaropogon.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19689532 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19858218 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20049840 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/25738836 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38652476 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/104637522 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/105490427 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/106491091

Name: Dasypogoninae gen 3 (Paramonov m.s.)
Status: undescribed
Distribution: Australia
Notes: Highly distinctive genus and species. Uncertain relationships.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/60386692 | https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/105641672

Name: Lastaurini gen 1
Status: undescribed [probably]
Distribution: Argentina
Notes: Looks like a cross between Diogmites and Lastaurina.


Last Updated: Mar 25, 2022 1:34 PM EST

Posted on December 29, 2021 10:55 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 1 comment | Leave a comment

July 23, 2021

Proposal: Implementing Species Groups in Asilidae

It has now been over a year and it appears that iNat staff have no intention of adding species groups to the iNaturalist taxonomy. I still believe species groups would be useful for robber flies, so a potential workaround is to use the species complex rank instead. Such taxa can be updated to proper species groups later if the iNat staff choose to add that rank in the future.

Good idea? Bad idea? Let me know your thoughts on this proposal in the comments! I will wait for feedback before making any changes.

Below are my proposed 'species group' taxa to add. What groups should or should not be included in this list? I will update the journal post accordingly.

cc @tristanmcknight @quaedfliegh @robcannings @dannywolff @bradmoon @stevecollins @giffbeaton @b_coulter @pbedell @rogue_biologist @estrada1990

Efferia [following BugGuide and/or modified from Artigas & Papavero 1997]
Complex Efferia aestuans (=Nerax group)
Complex Efferia albibarbis (=albibarbis group)
Complex Efferia anomala (=anomala group)
Complex Efferia arida (=arida group)
Complex Efferia carinata (=carinata group)
Complex Efferia pogonias (=pogonias group)
Complex Efferia staminea (=staminea group)
Complex Efferia tuberculata (=tuberculata group)

Cyrtopogon [following Wilcox & Martin 1936]
Complex Cyrtopogon anomalus (=anomalus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon aurifex (=aurifex group)
Complex Cyrtopogon callipedilus (=callipedilus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon dasylloides (=dasylloides group)
Complex Cyrtopogon dubius (=dubius group)
Complex Cyrtopogon inversus (=inversus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon leptotarsus (=leptotarsus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon lutatius (=lutatius group)
Complex Cyrtopogon marginalis (=marginalis group)
Complex Cyrtopogon maculipennis (=maculipennis group)
Complex Cyrtopogon montanus (=montanus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon nitidus (=nitidus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon perspicax (=perspicax group)
Complex Cyrtopogon princeps (=princeps group)
Complex Cyrtopogon profusus (=profusus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon pulcher (=pulcher group)
Complex Cyrtopogon rattus (=rattus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon rejectus (=rejectus group)
Complex Cyrtopogon tibialis (=tibialis group)
Complex Cyrtopogon nugator (=nugator group)
Complex Cyrtopogon vulneratus (=vulneratus group)

Stenopogon [Following Wilcox 1971 over Martin 1970]
Complex Stenopogon albibasis (=albibasis group)
Complex Stenopogon boharti (=boharti group)
Complex Stenopogon breviusculus (=breviusculus group)
Complex Stenopogon californiae (=californiae group)
Complex Stenopogon inquinatus (=inquinatus group)
Complex Stenopogon jubatus (=jubatus group)
Complex Stenopogon obscuriventris (=obscuriventris group)
Complex Stenopogon rufibarbis (=rufibarbis group)
Complex Stenopogon wilcoxi (=wilcoxi group)

Last Updated: July 23, 2021 10:20 AM PST

Posted on July 23, 2021 05:20 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 10 comments | Leave a comment

May 12, 2021

Asilidae - Supporting IDs Needed

Below is a list of robber fly observations where the community ID is stuck at superfamily or above due to one or more disagreements. If anyone is willing to go through some of these and add an 'Asilidae' ID (no need to agree with my exact ID) to help pull the observation to at least family level, that would be greatly appreciated. I'll update the list as observations are moved.

Alternatively, you can use this link for observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?ident_taxon_id=47982&lrank=superfamily&place_id=any&reviewed=false

Or this one for the Identify module: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?ident_taxon_id=47982&lrank=superfamily&place_id=any&reviewed=false

This will show only those observations in which (1) there is at least one 'Asilidae' ID, (2) the community ID is superfamily or above, and (3) you have not already reviewed it. Unfortunately this will also include non-asilids which had an 'Asilidae' ID. I don't know that these can be filtered out in one URL search.


New Since Last Update

Last Updated: July 2, 2022 1:18 PM EST

Posted on May 12, 2021 07:07 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 4 comments | Leave a comment

September 07, 2020

Collecting Asilidae in South America

@orlandomontes @patrich @vicentevaldesguzman @r-a-p @quentinvdm @rguller @lrubio7 @douglas-u-oliveira @edson_guilherme @diogoluiz @isaac_oliveira @cesarfavacho @josev_ge @felipecampos @dawicho @rudygelis

Hi all,

I'm looking to acquire molecular-grade specimens of Asilidae from all over the world, (and relevant to this post) especially south America. Such specimens would be instrumental in reconstructing the evolutionary history of these venomous predators, and also aid in their taxonomic revision and reclassification.

Would any of you included here have the means or interest to collect robber flies into 90-100% ethanol? Please let me know if so, and I can provide further details.

¿Alguno de ustedes incluido aquí tendría los medios o el interés de recolectar moscas ladronas en etanol al 90-100%? Si es así, avíseme y puedo proporcionar más detalles.

Algum de vocês incluído aqui teria os meios ou interesse para coletar moscas ladrão em etanol 90-100%? Informe-me se sim, e posso fornecer mais detalhes.

I hope you all are staying safe and healthy!


Posted on September 07, 2020 02:55 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 7 comments | Leave a comment

Collecting Asilidae in South Africa and Namibia

@colin25 @bushboy @tonyrebelo @alandmanson @happyasacupcake @cecileroux @sallyslak @magdastlucia @karoopixie @nicky @rjpretor @alexdreyer

Hi all,

I'm looking to acquire molecular-grade specimens of Asilidae from all over the world, (and relevant to this post) especially southern Africa. Such specimens would be instrumental in reconstructing the evolutionary history of these venomous predators, and also aid in their taxonomic revision and reclassification.

Would any of you included here have the means or interest to collect robber flies into 90-100% ethanol? Please let me know if so, and I can provide further details.

I hope you all are staying safe and healthy!


Posted on September 07, 2020 02:38 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 8 comments | Leave a comment

August 20, 2020

Species Groups on iNaturalist

About a month ago I made a feature request to add the "species group" taxon rank to the iNaturalist taxonomy: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/create-a-new-taxon-rank-for-inaturalist-the-species-group/14543

This would aide in the identification of speciose genera (e.g. Efferia, Diogmites) where species complexes are not a valid substitute.

Unfortunately, this feature request has not received the attention I think it deserves. If you would like to see this powerful new tool added to our arsenal, please consider voting for this feature on the forum.

@tristanmcknight @b_coulter @pbedell @stevecollins @greglasley @edanko @treegrow

Posted on August 20, 2020 12:54 AM by myelaphus myelaphus | 7 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2020

New Website: Robber Flies of the World

Today is World Robber Fly Day, and I can't think of a better time to announce the launch of my new website, Robber Flies of the World: https://www.robberfliesoftheworld.com.

As the name suggests, it covers all 7,200+ known species of these venomous predators, and focuses on their taxonomy, natural history and identification. My hope is that in the future it will become the go-to reference for just about anything pertaining to robber flies.

This has been a passion project of mine over the past 6 years or so. Because I decided to build it from the ground up, I've had to learn how to write and use HTML5, PHP, CSS, Javascript, and MySQL. While this means that I have had full control over the appearance and functionality of the site, it also means that there may be some uncaught bugs or glitches. I will continue to tweak and improve the site's appearance and performance over time, so let me know if you encounter any issues!

Robber Flies of the World currently has three main features:

  • Taxon Pages: Browse through every accepted subfamily, tribe, genus, and species. Over time each taxon page will be updated with diagnostic photographs and information pertaining to it's identification and natural history.
  • Species Catalog: Search by subfamily, tribe, genus, zoogeographic region, country and state to generate a catalog of species that match those criteria. Only accepted taxa are included, with junior synonyms listed for the relevant taxa.
  • Taxon Database: Search for a subfamily, tribe, genus, or species from a database of every known name used in Asilidae (over 12,00 records).

These are all generated from a MySQL database, which will allow me to quickly and easily modify classifications or add taxa as new taxonomic and phylogenetic studies are published.

The next big feature to be added to the website is the literature database, which will be incorporated into the taxon pages, species catalog, and taxon database as well as have a dedicated query page. Other major planned features include a predator-prey database, dichotomous keys, and matrix-based keys.

I hope you will find Robber Flies of the World to be a useful addition to your toolkit, and I look forward to your feedback!

If you want to get involved in the holiday festivities, consider posting your robber fly photos to Twitter with the hashtag #WorldRobberFlyDay ( https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WorldRobberFlyDay).

Posted on April 30, 2020 02:10 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 15 comments | Leave a comment

May 24, 2019

Species Complexes in Asilidae

I'm considering adding a few species complexes to the iNat taxonomy for Asilidae, particularly for North American Laphria and Efferia. Is this something that people would find useful? Does anyone have reservations about unranked taxa?

Which complexes would you like to see added?

iNat guidelines for complexes:

Some discussions about species complexes for reference:

Three complexes added so far:

To find a complex, search for the species name included in the respective link above, and the complex will be one of the two choices.

Posted on May 24, 2019 09:16 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 17 comments | Leave a comment

February 21, 2019

Key to Dicranus

Adapted from Carrera, 1955. Carrera did not have access to specimens of D. jaliscoensis, so this key will need to be modified/updated.

1a Mystax yellow; legs entirely yellow or with black spots……2
1b Mystax and legs entirely black………….nigerrimus
2a Black bristles and hairs on the lateral margins of the mesonotum; abdominal tergites 2-4 with grey pollen on the sides of the posterior margins; the last three tarsal joints black…..3
2b Yellow bristles and hairs on the lateral margins of the mesonotum; abdominal tergites 2-4 with
thick yellow pilosity on the sides of the posterior margins ; all tarsi yellow……rutilus
3a Anterior tibiae yellow with an elongated black spot on the ventral surface ; black bristles and hairs on the ocelar callus and occiput ( at least in schrottkyi)……….4
3b Anterior tibiae wholly yellow; yellow bristles and hairs on the ocelar callus and occiput….tucma
4a Antennae black; scutellum witli grey pollen on the dorsum………schrottkyi
4b Antennae and scutellum yellow…..jaliscoensis

Posted on February 21, 2019 02:02 PM by myelaphus myelaphus | 0 comments | Leave a comment