Lifescapes Gallery

11 / Jan / 2012
The Bearded Bandit of Coorg!
Robber Fly, Coorg Photograph: Samyak Kaninde Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Bearded Bandit of Coorg!

Being mugged is every traveller’s nightmare. Being mugged and then consumed as the main course in a mugger’s banquet, is the stuff that makes it to the horror movie hall of fame. But being killed and converted into a Smoothie to be slurped at leisure, takes the (dis)honours and is certainly not something you’d like on your resume. That, however, is exactly what happens to unwary air-travellers in Coorg if they don’t keep a lookout for the most feared bogeyman of the area – the Robber Fly. This bearded brigand perches quite innocuously on a twig, and when a beetle, dragonfly or wasp is spotted approaching incautiously, smacks his hirsute lips and takes off on a roundabout flight, before veering back suddenly and grabbing the unsuspecting insect, mid-flight, with his powerful legs. A short jab with his rapier-sharp beak injects venomous saliva that paralyses the prey while liquefying the body matter. From there on it’s a smooth return flight to the home perch, where the Robber proceeds to slurp up his Insect Smoothie. If he’s particularly peckish, and feels like a larger serving, the Robber Fly doesn’t balk at taking on prey much bigger than himself, trusting to his well-honed predatory skills and the power of his proboscis. Talking of skill-sets, the predatory career of this successful bandit begins quite early: the larval baby brigand hides in the soil and in decaying wood, and learns the ropes by preying on the larvae, eggs and pupae of other insects around him. While this is bad news for some, a healthy Robber Fly population is good for humans, as it is our first line of defence against destructive and disease-carrying insects. Much like the legend of Robin Hood, the Robber of Coorg has shown that a bandit for some could well be a saviour for others.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 at 6:36 am and is filed under Insects . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. nilesh rathod says:

    I love the pictures that I have been receiving from you.
    I am a nature lover ,and one day I wish to be in your photography team.I must say that nature and Orange County will always be a part of my heart.

  2. aiyappa says:

    Amazing photography!!!

  3. Sakala Appachu Debrass says:

    Absolutely love this picture. Kudos to the photographer for capturing Mother Nature at her best.

  4. subrata pal says:

    Very good. Very rare to find this kind of photography. Thanks.

  5. Meena Desai says:

    I love reading the write-ups and the photos are of superb quality as usual! Keep up the excellent work!

  6. Diwakaran Nair says:

    Slurp!! Enjoyed the photo and the lovely commentary. Thaks once again Orange County team, Mr.Kaninde for the glorious image and Mr. Rajesh for doing what he does best!

  7. jyoti aggarwal says:

    Too good

  8. Anu Elisha says:

    Great photograph and caption (as always). I thought the write-up this time was especially informative and very very interesting. I have not had the good fortune to see this Robin Hood of the insect world, but boy! am I glad to be human 😉

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