Kite-tailed Robberfly - Machimus atricapillus

Description

Generally larger and greyer than M. cingulatus with a more strongly marked abdomen. There are also differences in details of the antennae and genitalia. The front tibia are largely red and lack the black bands seen in other Machimus species.

Similar Species

Males of this species are readily distinguished by the projecting tab on the last segment which bears a tuft of black hairs. The tab normally has a forked apex resembling a kite's tail. Both males and females can be separated from the similar M. cingulatus and M. coweni by the colour and patterns on the front tibia and femora. See Identification Aids below.

Identification difficulty
Identification aids

ID aid

image by Malcolm Smart

Habitat

It can be found in a variety of habitats, especially scrubby grassland and woodland edge. It prefers light soils but is not as strongly associated with sandy soils as the similar M. cingulatus.

When to see it

Most likely to be encountered in summer.

Life History

Adults are predatory on many other species of flies and other insects. The larvae are presumed to develop as predators in soil.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in England and Wales, particularly in the south.

VC55 Status

Status in Leicestershire and Rutland not known.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map