I was bent to shoot a dragonfly, I believe, when this lovely robber flew up and landed on the bend of my knee above the kneecap. This is one of the boldest and commonest robber flies in central Arkansas. It is Promachus hinei. There are three species of Promachus in the east that have the yellow and black tiger striping on the abdomen. The other two are P. rufipes and P. vertebratus. (See shots below.) I am not convinced that P. vertebratus occurs in AR. P. rufipes apparently resembles this but has much more rufus on the dorsal thorax and two-toned legs with black tibias (thanks Giff, here is a link to Giff's shot of P. rufipes). I assume behavior is fairly similar.

A pair of P. hinei in the mating posture. They often fly around attached like this when they are disturbed. I don't know who leads. I assume the big female.

A fine beetle kill on a thorn vine. Shows the distinct yellow and black marks. This is a male.

Another major take down, though still maybe not as dangerous as the one below. P. hinei takes a Tiger. My sprinklers were on and they crashed in a sprinkler zone on the yard after this Promachus learned to perch in the butterfly bush and hunt.

One of the most impressive robber kills I've ever seen. This huge female had this adult male Halloween Pennant totally wrapped and packaged. Note in the full light the robbers eyes are blue.

One of the two Arkansas Promachus that are not tiger striped. This is the early dominant P. bastardii. It tends to decline as the P. hinei emerge. This is the female. The creamy white/yellow facial hair and the bands of white hair along the abdomen are distinctive. A fearless robber that makes a distinctive buzz in its foray flights. The male has a prominent white tail-light of white hairs that is easy to see in flight.

Male P. bastardii. The dorsum of that last segment is bright white and this is visible in flight and at rest. Male has a distinctive buzz to the flight. He often curls the abdomen upward when buzzing about. The male also has the white banding at the back edges of the abdominal segments.

Here is the shot we all wanted to get. Tried several times. But Berlin hit it at Red Slough. Male buzzing in a steady line that points to the female. Makes an impressive accentuated buzz before he crashes at high speed into her. Then ends in one of the scenarios below. There is a SW species that looks very much like a large bastardii. They don't have this species in that region.

Dastardly female deeds. Ah, the rugged universe. Here a female bastardii (I guess we would call her a bitchii) has punctured the hapless male and is removing his last fervid thoughts through the back of his head. Oww.

The tilt-a-whirl, don't-look-down-honey mating position of the bastardii. There is often much hovering and buzzing before this lockup occurs (see above). Sometimes the male will hover for 20 seconds or more before making the tackle. More buzzing foreplay time overall than actual connection time. Norm says he has seen the male stroking the upright female abdomen with his hindlegs while the connection is sustained (see shot below).

Closer mating pair shot. The attached posterior puzzle is pumped occasionally up and down with some additional buzzing. Note the males terminus is flipped over completely.

The pairing again at Bell in 2019. Always a buzzy and common field robber there.

This female took the only Diogmites I flushed on this walk, a D. neoternatus. Promachus were everywhere along the back Bell Slough trail and I kept flushing females into male territories and stirring up mating flights and battles.

The dangerous female bastardii will take large prey. Here is a NE specimen dining on a Megarhyssa wasp. Impressive for any robber.

The male Promachus fitchii. It was in a field just buzzing with Pogoniefferia and Promachus bastardii so it was hard to pick it out from among all the lift and buzzing and landing of robbers. You can just see the white hairs on the terminus which are prominent but not as electric white as on bastardii. Those red green eyes are distinctive. The species Promachus quadratus from FL GA LA has the same kind of yellowish cover on the abdomen and lacks any black hair but has a shorter white terminus cover. Promachus truqii from AZ NM TX has all grayish abdomen with the white tail light and a white to light yellow beard and mystax.

Suppose I should have guessed they would choose a grass species to egg on. This looks like last year's Bromus species. But what a lovely female. In an area of Point Remove where this species can actually be the dominant open field species. Generally much less common elsewhere.

I found a fine male with a large Syrphid kill at the prairie field at Camp Robinson proper in 2010. Only one seen but likely many more in that large area that is frequently burned.

And in 2014 on the butterfly count in late June I discovered the landing zone prairie field at Camp Robinson proper was just buzzing with fitchii. Captured the struggle after violent attachment. Really fine insects.

Specimen shot of this prettiest Promachus species in my state. This is a vanishing species in the east and northeast apparently. And it is not common here. I believe I saw four in all of last summer. Compare that to hundreds of P. hinei and P. bastardii. P. fitchii only showed itself in stubble fields including recently plowed fields and grassy regrowth. Note the white tail-light on this male which is similar to the P. bastardii tail. The eyes on this species are a distinctive red-green. The robber appears creamy golden overall in sunlight. The western species truquii apparently resembles fitchii only has gray to whitish hairs overall with a yellowish beard.

This is a female P. fitchii from above on a specimen.

A mating pair of a western species shot in the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas. I don't know the species. But it looks like a big P. bastardii with purple lines etched on the dorsal thorax. It may be Promachus giganteus or magnus. P. giganteus does have some reddened areas described on the thorax. I have no magnus description at this time. The genus can be determined by that nicely displayed wing showing the long recurrent vein characteristic of the Promachid wing. A few species lack a gray shadow in the first submarginal cell which appears to be the case here. The majority of Promachus have a shadow of gray in that cell.

The Promachus vertebratus male from Wisconsin where they are much more common and dominant. They don't even have P. hinei. Note the tibia and femur contrast. And the muted abdominal colors and smaller dark areas on the segments of the abdomen dorsally.

Compare the last species that is tiger striped in the east. Promachus rufipes male. These are the  commonest Promachus once you near the east coast.  They take over dominance from Promachus hinei as you move east of the Mississippi river. Note the tibia and femur with similar contrast to the species above. They may not overlap in range much. But always note the darker thorax and the larger black abdominal sections dorsally.

Promachus painteri male which is fairly distinctive from the Austin area in Texas. Shot from Jim McCulloch with fine detail. Female very similar with the elongate and less hairy terminus. Note the elongate hairs on this male with are darkended. Really nice robber.

Promachus painteri female from TX. Much elongated abdomen. Note the impressive cockroach prey. Which is a first that I have seen among prey items.

A beautiful shot of a nice Promachus nigrialbus male from AZ. Also with an elongate appearance to the male abdomen. There is another black and white species in CA and the NW which is princeps. Note the dark legs and the very white facial hair.