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canis complex

Laphria canis complex - Laphria Robber Fly ID Request - Laphria - male BG2238 E4376 - Laphria - female Fly - soldier fly? - Laphria unknown robber fly - Laphria Robber flies - Laphria Laphria canis? - Laphria - male Laphria canis or  Laphria winnemana ? - Laphria - male
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Superfamily Asiloidea
Family Asilidae (Robber Flies)
Subfamily Laphriinae
Genus Laphria (Bee-like Robber Flies)
No Taxon canis complex
Numbers
About 60 Laphria in the US. Only a handful in this small dark category. Species included in the complex are Laphria canis, L. sicula, L. winnemana, at least two undescribed eastern species, plus L. franciscana (western only). L. franciscana should be identifiable based on range. One of the undescribed eastern species was confused with franciscana in the past.

Bullington (unpublished PhD thesis, 1986), considered Laphria sicula, L. ithypyga, and another undescribed species to be members of the genus Choerades based on genitalic structure, while he moved the remaining species in this group plus L. index and L. scorpio to a new genus.
Size
Small, circa 7-12 mm

Evidently, some individuals may reach 14-16 mm, according to Herschel Raney's comment here.
Identification
Note: most information here moved from old canis page, which included images of several related species, and indeterminates. Page initially created by Cotinis, with additional contributions by hraney, Ben Coulter, and KenW.

The species in this complex are very similar and sometimes impossible (females) to distinguish from photographs. Please place photos that are not conclusively identified to species based on genitalia here.

Very small robber flies. Antennae help distinguish from the plumper Atomosia. See Internet references and comments on photos.

There are several very similar species, very hard to distinguish in the field. The eastern complex includes nominate canis, sicula and winnemana, plus a common undescribed species related to franciscana. See comments under the canis photos above. Laphria canis has a very wide genitalic bulb, wider than the distal abdominal tergites. L. sicula and winnemana have a much narrower one compared to the distal abdominal segments.
Habitat
Fields, forest openings, etc. These small species prefer the understory leaf tops of low plants. And they love shaded woodlands. Rarely found away from tree cover.
Season
Summer
Food
Predatory on small invertebrates.
See Also
Atomosia species--also small and dark