The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Hanging Flies

Afrikaans name:


Hanging Fly

Photo © Dr.Jason Londt

Bittacus species

There are approximately 30 species of Hanging Fly found in South Africa. Most of the Hanging Flies found in South Africa belong to the genus Bittacus.

These insects are predators and spend much of their time hanging by their front legs with their rear legs dangling in the air to catch an unsuspecting insect that flies by.

Hanging Flies tend to be active during the day but may sometimes be found inside houses at night. It appears that they may be disturbed by rain or wind at night and fly inside because of the lights.

Once a hanging fly catches another insect it injects it with some of its saliva which dissolves the unfortunate creatures insides. They then suck up this soup-like fluid.

References and further reading

Suburban Wildlife in KZN - Author: Dr. Jason Londt - Published: 2009 - Page: 54

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 142

Struik Pocket Guides for Southern Africa - Insects - Author: Erik Holm and Elbie de Meillon - Published: 1988 - Page: 50

A Beginners Guide to the Insects - Author: Jason G.H. Londt - Published: 1984 - Page: 71

African Insect Life - revised edition - Author: S.H. Skaife - Published: 1979 - Page: 136

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 262

Field Guide to Insects of the Kruger National Park - Author: Leo Braack - Published: 1991 - Page: 108

Insectopedia - Author: Erik Holm - Published: 2017 - Page: 162

Insects of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Clarke H. Scholtz and Erik Holm - Published: 1989 - Page: 281

Pocket Guide - Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker & Charles Griffiths - Published: 2015 - Page: 88

Pollinators, Predators and Parasites - Author: C. Scholtz, J. Scholtz, H. De Klerk - Published: 2021 - Page: 421


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