Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Predatory insect

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Question
Earlier this week I was at an east Mesa Arizona store at 9:30 PM

As I crossed the parking lot I noticed a largish - approximately 3" long -insect flitting through the cone of light beneath the parking lot light - it was obviously preying on insects drawn to the light

It was bi winged, quick & agile

It had a thickish tubular body - the wingspan appeared to be the same 3" as the body length

Any ideas as to what it was

Thanks for your time and consideration

Answer
Marlin:

Without seeing at least an image of the creature, I can only hazard a guess:

Praying mantis (yes, they can fly, at least the males)

Antlion (see my blog post here:  http://bugeric.blogspot.com/2014/10/doodlebugs-antlions.html)

Both are often attracted to lights at night....but so are some cicadas, katydids...

In short, it is pretty difficult to give you an answer with the rather limited information provided.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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