The shield bug’s bright colours are a warning to hungry birds – there’s a good reason why these bugs are also known as stink bugs. The black and red stripes may have evolved as deterrent but on the ribbed pink petals of the echinacea they almost look like camouflage.
The robber fly doesn’t go in for camouflage; it lurks in the shadows ready to dart after unsuspecting prey. The alternative common name for this group of predatory flies, assassin flies, seems more appropriate. You might expect a robber fly simply to deprive a passing insect of its lunch whereas the victim itself is the prey of the assassin. A bee, wasp or even a dragonfly may be this fly’s next meal.
Silhouetted against a sunlit leaf the fly’s protective bristles stand out clearly. Click for a closer view and you can also see its bristly moustache (or mystax) and the depression between its big compound eyes where three small, simple eyes are located – not the picture of a gentle vegetarian.