Promachus dimidiatus Curran (Diptera: Asilidae): a robber fly genus and species new to British Columbia


  • Robert Alexander Cannings Royal British Columbia Museum
  • Tyson Ehlers Masse Environmental Consultants Ltd
  • Angela Manweiler Department of National Defence, Government of Canada
  • Todd Kohler Department of National Defence, Government of Canada
  • Erik Hayes Department of National Defence, Government of Canada
  • Denis Knopp


Diptera, Asilidae, range extension, distribution

Author Biography

Robert Alexander Cannings, Royal British Columbia Museum

Rob Cannings is Curator Emeritus of Entomology at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, where he has worked since 1980. Before retiring in 2012, he led entomological activities in collections development, research and public programs. From 1987 to 1996 he also was Manager of the Natural History Section at the museum. Rob’s research interests focus on insect systematics and faunistics, especially in the damselflies and dragonflies (Odonata) and robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae), but he publishes widely on many insect groups.

He has a strong interest in popularizing insects and insect identification through handbooks, keys and the internet. He is the author of several books, including The World of Fresh Water, The Dragonflies of British Columbia, Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon, and The Systematics of Lasiopogon (Diptera: Asilidae). He has been active on the Scientific Committee of the Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), the Invertebrate Subcommittee of COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and the British Columbia Invertebrate Recovery Team.

Active in the Entomological Society of BC, Rob has served in several capacities, including President (1986, 2001) and Regional Director to the Entomological Society of Canada (1983-86). He started the newsletter Boreus in 1981 and was editor until 1991.

In former lives, Rob worked as a biologist and nature interpreter for BC Parks and the Canadian Wildlife Service and served as a lecturer and museum curator at the University of BC.

He earned a BSc and MSc from the University of B.C.; his PhD comes from the University of Guelph.

In 2008 Rob and his two brothers, Richard and Syd, were made Fellows of Okanagan College for “bringing British Columbians and Canadians a richer appreciation of the natural world through their writings, professional activities and dedication”. Rob was presented the 2009 Bruce Naylor Award, a national honour that recognizes “exceptional contributions to the study of museum-based natural history in Canada”.



Cannings, R.A. 2011. Robber Flies (Insecta: Diptera: Asilidae). In Assessment of species diversity in the Montane Cordillera Ecozone (version 2). Edited by G.G.E. Scudder and I.M. Smith. Chapter 17, Pp. 1-24. Available from [accessed 12 August 2019].

Cannings, R. A. 2014. The Robber Flies (Diptera: Asilidae) of Western Canadian Grasslands. In Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 4): Biodiversity and Systematics Part 2. Edited by D. J. Giberson and H. A. Cárcamo. Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 269-297. Available from [accessed 12 August 2019].

Cannings, R.A. 2012. Checklist of the robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae) of British Columbia. In E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia. Edited by B. Klinkenberg. 2018. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Available from [accessed 12 August 2019].

Cannings, R.A. and Pym, R.V. 2017. Archilestes californicus McLachlan (Odonata: Zygoptera: Lestidae): a damselfly new to Canada. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia, 114: 77-82.

Cannings, R.A. and Scudder, G.G.E. 2009. Eleodes obscurus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae): confirmation of a Canadian population and possible northward expansion from Washington State into British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia, 106: 81-82.

Curran, C.H. 1927. Descriptions of Nearctic Diptera. The Canadian Entomologist, 59: 79-92.

Fisher, E.M. 2009. Asilidae (robber flies, assassin flies, moscas cazadoras, moscas ladronas). In Manual of Central American Diptera (Volume 1). Edited by B.V. Brown et al. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Pp. 585-632.

Fisher, E.M., and Wilcox, J. 1997. Catalogue of the robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae) of the Nearctic Region. Unpublished preliminary draft. Sacramento, California, United States of America.

Hine, J.S. 1911. Robberflies of the genera Promachus and Proctacanthus. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 4: 153-172.

Meidinger, D. and Pojar, J. 1991. Ecosystems of British Columbia. British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Crown Publications Inc., Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Masse Environmental Consultants. 2019. 2018 Surveys for Arthropods at Risk, Vernon Military Camp, British Columbia. Prepared for Defence Construction Canada on behalf of Department of National Defence Canada, Natural Resources Program, 1262-12-4.

Paiero, S.M., Marshall, S.A., Pratt, P.D., and Buck, M. 2010. Insects of Ojibway Prairie, a southern Ontario tallgrass prairie. In Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 1): ecology and interactions in grassland habitats. Edited by J.D. Shorthouse and K.D. Floate. Biological Survey of Canada. Pp. 199-225.

Pape, T. and Evenhuis, N.L. 2019. Systema Dipterorum (version 2.3). Available from [accessed 12 Aug 2019].

Skevington, J.H. 1999. New Canadian records of Asilidae (Diptera) from an endangered Ontario ecosystem. Great Lakes Entomologist, 32: 257-265.