Robber fly: Hunting secrets of a tiny predator revealed

Mar 10, 2017

By Victoria Gill

The mid-air hunting strategy of a tiny fly the size of a grain of rice has been revealed by an international team of scientists.

Holcocephala, a species of robber fly, is able to intercept and “lock on” to its prey in less than a second.

Researchers used high-speed cameras to show exactly how the fly positioned itself to capture a moving target in mid-air.

The results are published in the journal Current Biology.

Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido from Cambridge University explained that, normally, “when we think of hunting animals we think of excellent vision and speed, but when you’re so very tiny, you have a very small brain and limited sensory capacity”.

She added: “We wanted to know how [this fly manages] this predatory behaviour.”

Dr Gonzalez-Bellido and her colleagues created a miniature outdoor studio – filming the fly from two angles to capture its movement in 3D.

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2 comments on “Robber fly: Hunting secrets of a tiny predator revealed

  • holocephala

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw.

    like the hollow men in washington?
    fly robbers
    robber barons
    (apologies to a fascinating organism)



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  • holocephala

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw.

    like the hollow men in washington?
    fly robbers
    robber barons
    (apologies to a fascinating organism)
    always been fascinated by ms quito too
    how she avoids swatting so skillfully



    Report abuse

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