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.

    be our species champion

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map