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Robber Fly Season?

Hi all

I don't know if its just me, but there seems to be a lot of Robber Flies this season (up in Southern Ontario). Lots of small ones, plus a bunch of the Yellow Laphrias, including one I see a lot hanging around a yellow jacket nest. I've had more sighting in a couple of weeks than I had all last season.

The unusually severe winter seems to have altered some of the normal patterns.... anyone else noticing things like this?

notes from the field
I haven't really noticed more asilids than usual, but I'm probably biased-- as a robber specialist, I see robbers everywhere, all the time. :-) But I have noticed the emergence patterns shifted this year on my collecting expeditions (and when I've talked to local ecologists).

Around the great lakes and New England, species have been emerging later than usual and often continuing beyond their existing known dates.

Out west it's a totally different story. California, Oregon, and Washington didn't get hit by the polar vortex-- instead they've had an ongoing saga of drought and heat, which as far as I've seen pushed local phenologies into summer earlier than usual. The "spring" out there was really short-- sometimes just a week or two.

Central AZ
Yes, robber flies seem to be doing well, also net-winged beetles. Many, many midges earlier this year; Arizona missed the Polar Vortex.

Altered Patterns
Here on the southern shore of Lake Erie, I have seen one Polistes dominula this season, where normally I see dozens each day. I've also seen one Dolichovespula maculata. Leps seem to be down as well. I have yet to see Hypena scabra, which I typically see nightly from May to November.

more records needed...
and this is why sites like this are important. One yearly fluctuation may not be significant, or even objective... but as we all collect data we may be able to help the next generation of entomologists and ecologists see the larger patterns.

Go bug guide! and all of us participating!

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