Thought first to be a Robber Fly
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It would be nice to have a species name
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What more detail can you give, to help a specific ID...Size? Habitat? Any other pictures?
They are never easy to species, especially from a single, rather fuzzy and badly exposed picture! ;)
My Flickr photos...
The habitat was chalk downs adjacent to pasture, cattle and sheep and horses.
About half the size of a Hornet Robber seen in the same place consecutive years before.
Terminology on i-spot is a bit tricky. Downs are called heaths in Sussex (past). Not sure what the terminology means. Not grassland, chalkhill herb vegetation.
My description: unmanaged/natural chalk hill previously classified on maps as a rabbit warren, Location: http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2013.html
Exposure seems OK on picture. Focus not so good as I it only landed for a second and my camera is not very good. Only picture available at present.
Wild guess: Dysmachus group ???
What I meant about exposure is that the chalk (?) substrate on which it stands is very white, making the insect itself look dark and so removing detail. Always difficult to take photos of them against pale backgrounds!
I agree that the thick, white bristles visible on the leg look like Dysmachus, but one where we shall never know, unfortunately.
It would nice to have a species but as Ian says its a tough call on single dorsal view, whilst not wholly relevant ( German species )the link below shows some of the features typically needed in being absolute and specific in the ID
These are like Kingfishers !! It takes an awfullong time to get a decent field sequence and they dont sit still as you say
One contender ( Note Not at all saying it is) could be Dysmachus trigonus although this is an occupier of sandy dune areas which is probably why Ian asked for clarification on Substrate
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"Another pic" is certainly another species, female Machimus, atricapillus by default.
The original picture above concerns a male Machimus rusticus. I'm pretty certain about that.
-Thighs are black
-Base of tibia dark red (M. rusticus M arthritucus)
-Shape of forceps robust (slender with M. arthriticus)
M. rusticus habitat: calcareous grasslands
M. arthriticus habitat: Sandy grasslands
There are several other species of Machimus and Eutolmus Dysmachus from the continent with similar legs but these are not known from NW Europe exept M gonatistes (known from Germany and Denmark). But that species has black bristles on legs. The one here has, as is visible on left hind leg, whitish bristles.
Ah now your going somewhere Andy pop it on i-spot and see what the consensus is however you need to be clear if its the same fly or another one in the same area
But that's just another fly! It adds nothing to the one above, unless it is the same individual. I was on the coast of Lincolnshire, yesterday, and there were three species together on the dunes, each in good numbers.
Because of their large size and exciting nature, we expect robberflies to be easy to ID. In reality, they all look very similar and are quite hard to tell apart from a single photo...especially the different Machimus species and females even more so than males. You need close ups of the genitalia, the hairs on the underside of the abdomen, the leg bristles, the colour of bristles on the frons and things like that, to make an ID more likely.
Perhaps just to genus level. The other picture is not mine.
Lat/Lng: 50.8576, -0.2818
OS grid ref: TQ210078
Chalk down, wild