Dioctria atricapilla

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Dioctria atricapilla
Schwarze Habichtsfliege Dioctria atricapilla.jpg
Scientific classification
D. atricapilla
Binomial name
Dioctria atricapilla
Meigen, 1804 [1]
Synonyms [2]
D. atricapilla in copula

The violet black-legged robber fly, Dioctria atricapilla, is a species of robber fly in the subfamily Dasypogoninae. This 9- to 12-millimeter long insect has a wingspan of roughly 7 to 9 mm[3][4] and short, three-segmented antennae.[5] It's a predatory insect, feeding mainly on smaller flies and predatory hymenopterans.[6] It primarily thrives in grassland, and is seen from May to July.[6]

Habitat and behavior[edit]

Like all robber flies, the violet black-legged robber fly feed by perching on lower stems of grasses and attack prey as it flies by. The larvae usually grow up in dung piles or decaying organic matter, but they can also be in regular soil.[5]

Courting behavior involves the male leading the courtship dance in front of the female. If she isn't impressed, she'll rapidly move her wings or fly away; otherwise the male will begin copulating.[7]

Natural status[edit]

There are 24 locations in the United Kingdom where it's a protected species, mostly in England.[8] It can be found throughout European and Asian grasslands.[4]


  1. ^ "Dioctria atricapilla". The Ecology of Commanster. Maastricht University. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  2. ^ Stubbs, Alan E.; Drake, Martin (2001). British Soldierflies and their allies: A Field Guide to the Larger British Brachycera. London: British Entomological and Natural History Society. pp. 1–528. ISBN 1-899935-04-5.
  3. ^ "Features What Atricapilla Dioctria – Dioctria Atricapilla About Reproduction – About Atricapilla Dioctria". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Dioctria atricapilla Meigen, 1804". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Violet Black-Legged Robber Fly". Networked Organisms. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Violet Black-legged Robber Fly – Dioctria atricapilla". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  7. ^ Melin, D. (1923): Contribution to the knowledge of the biology, metamorphosis and distribution of the swedish Asilids. – Zoologiska Bidrag fran Uppsala 8: 317 pp.; Uppsala
  8. ^ "Dioctria atricapilla (Violet Black-legged Robber Fly)". Myers Enterprises II. Retrieved February 21, 2014.