Stichopogon trifasciatus. An instantly recognizable robber fly. Mostly blue-gray with the multiple bands on the abdomen and though it looks large here, it is only about ten mm in length. Flies like a tiger beetle and, in fact, is often found with tigers in sandy open areas. Has a wide triangular space between the eyes unlike other robbers. Wary but sometimes occurs in impressive local numbers in good habitat.

Kill shot with the sandy habitat shown again. This one has taken a hopper. Note the more darkly banded abdomen on this one. This is a female.

The trifasciate one again with a large fly kill. S trifasciatus are usually significantly larger than the habitat associated S. colei.

I don't think spiders are a common prey item for robber flies. But I have seen two species of Stichopogon take them on the shores of the river. As here. Much duller markings than the above individual.

From Texas, a pair in October from Eric Isley's camera. Texas has multiple species as well.

Stichopogon colei and Stichopogon pritchardi and Stichopogon abdominalis are the other three Stichopogon in the central and southeastern United States. S. colei is now found in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.  We may have all four eastern species of Stichopogon in Arkansas. We added S. colei after I caught one at Toadsuck park in Perry county and then in 2004 I found many more at the beach at Holla Bend NWR.

This shot is from Holla Bend. And I took it of a live individual after catching some more S. colei there. After looking at the above shot further I was almost convinced it is S. abdominalis. But who knows. This would mean three species were coexisting on that sandy shore. S. abdominalis is supposed to have a mostly red abdomen. S. colei has dark triangles on its dorsal abdomen and is very difficult to separate from S. pritchardi. Jeff Barnes thinks they may be the same species. See further shots below.

Here is Stichopogon abdominalis in a specimen shot from Florida where S. colei does not occur. Note the similarity to above. This species is listed as only occurring in Florida in the Fisher list. But possibly occurs much more extensively in the east. There are at least six other species in the west and one species, S. argenteus, which is listed as occurring in the northeast.

Giff has several shots at his website of S. abdominalis, including this one. Note how they are a richer red and tend to darken towards the last abdominal segments.

Second shot, showing the red markings through the wings. Both the colei/pritchardi and abdominalis are significantly smaller than trifasciatus. The color between red bands is less shining white than in colei.

Another fly kill on sand. I think this again is S. colei. (Compare with the above S. abdominalis.) I believe it may be consistent that the terminal segments of abdominalis are darker than the colei. We also think the colei males and females differ significantly in color. Males have much more black in the dorsal abdominal triangles. We watched a colei take a shore spider. And there were several mating pairs of Stich on the beach. The males of S. colei were only about 60% of the female size.

And once again from Holla Bend, what I presume are colei, though they look quite a bit ruddier than the above. Wet mossy sand stripe along the river again. This is a female.

And same day as above with the very small male pouncing on the female. He rapidly rubbed his fore claws across her eyes and head as in several other robber genera.

From Edward, same group at Holla Bend with his much better shot of the female.