Currently viewing the category: "Tachinid Flies"
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Subject: A fly?
Location: Coimadai, 50km north of Melbourne Australia
January 26, 2014 11:28 pm
Hi I found this fly attached to my pants while visiting the Merrimu Resevoir near Coimadai, about 50km north of Melbourne, Australia. It was approx 1.5cm in length and caught my eye due to its bright colours. Thought I’d share as it’s quite fascinating. Is anyone able to tell me what it is?
Signature: Scrubrobin

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly

Dear Scrubrobin,
We suspected that this is a species of Tachinid Fly, a large and diverse family whose members parasitize other insects and arthropods, and many species are considered important biological control agents.  We searched the Brisbane Insect website, and found a striking similarity between your specimen and two examples of Tachinid Flies in the genus
Microtropesa, which are known as Golden Tachinid Flies.  We searched for additional examples of that genus and we found another example that looks exactly like your individual on the Diptera Info website, but it is not identified to the species level.

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly

Update:  Microtropesa sinuata
We received two comments with links to Life Unseen and the identification of this Tachinid Fly as
Microtropesa sinuata.

 

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Subject: What’s This Fly on Cilantro Blooms?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
January 10, 2014 3:38 pm
Hi Daniel,
We wish you and yours a happy, healthy New Year filled with love. I was out in the back today and noticed this fly on the cilantro blooms. Can you help with identification? It’s most likely very common, but boy is it ugly!
Also, we still have one lonely Monarch Butterfly caterpillar chomping away on the Mexican Milkweed. We haven’t been able to locate any chrysalides this cycle, but are sure they’re out there somewhere!
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Looks like a Tachinid Fly to us

Looks like a Tachinid Fly to us

Hi Anna,
Happy New Year to you as well Anna.  We are still awaiting the sprouting of those cosmos seeds.  The conditions of our northern exposure garden often result in delays in seed sprouting.  This really looks like a Tachinid Fly to us, and we will attempt to locate a matching photo on BugGuide tomorrow.  Tachinid Flies in the family Tachinidae are important natural biological control agents, because according to BugGuide:  “larvae parasitize insects (and a few other arthropods, incl. millipedes, spiders, scorpions); adults may take nectar” and caterpillars are one of the primary hosts.  You might have photographed the reason you have noticed fewer Monarch Caterpillars this year.

Update:  January 12, 2014
This Tachinid Fly from our archives looks somewhat similar and the antennae look like those on this unidentified Tachinid Fly on BugGuide.

Hi Daniel,
Somehow I remember you telling me that you did have some sprouting of the cosmos seeds.  I thought it was rather odd as they don’t usually surface until spring.  We hope you have success with them!
I think your identification of this as a Tachinid fly is correct, but it’s different from the ones we’ve seen in past.  I also want to let you know that a Monarch chrysalis has been spotted!  I know it wasn’t there when I closed up the shed mid-afternoon yesterday and surely would have spotted the caterpillar crawling up the side of it were that happening while I was there.  The chrysalis is a good 12 feet away from any milkweed plant, and is about 6′ high on the front of the shed, just above the door.  Such an exposed area!  We’ve also had paper wasps building nests nearby in the past, so will have to keep a good eye out for them and try to discourage that activity for a while.
Anna

Monarch Chrysalis

Monarch Chrysalis

Thanks for the update Anna.

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Subject: parasite update!
Location: Hugh MacRae Park Wilmington, NC
September 13, 2013 11:18 am
Hi Curious Creature Catcher here!!
I have an update from my last message:
September 13, 2013 2:09 pm
Three new parasites have exited the body of the cicada. My thoughts would be that they feasted on the insides, as they have left the shell of the body intact. I know for sure that they did come from the inside, but I do not know how they exited other than through the anus. Could these be Cicada Parasite Beetles?
Thanks in advance!!

Cicada with Parasites

Cicada with Parasites

my last comment:
”September 13, 2013 8:55 AM
Hello! I was in a park in Wilmington N.C. and picked up a cicada that was lying on a black paved walkway. It seemed to have just recently died, as it’s limbs and body were not stiff. I decided to take it home and placed it in the center of an empty console of my car. Upon arriving home in addition to the cicada I saw what appeared to be a parasite wiggling around in the console that measures just over a half of an inch. In observing the cicada even closer I have noticed that several body parts (head, beak and anus) are moving as if something is inside of it! Back to the parasite- it seems to have one tooth or claw like feature in the front that helps it move about. If it did come from inside the cicada I am not sure how it came out unless it was through the opening of the anus, as there are no other openings that appear on the cicada. Could this be the larva stage of a cicada killer wasp? If so, could the wasp have laid more than one egg and there are more inside of th e cica
da. Also, I thought the wasp would have taken the cicada underground- not left it on a paved walkway…”
Signature: Curious Creature Catcher

Cicada and Parasite

Cicada and Parasite

Dear Curious Creature Catcher,
This will require a bit more research on our part, but we want to post it with our initial reaction.  We do not think this parasite looks like it will metamorphose into a beetle.  You are correct that Cicada Killers drag the prey to a burrow where a single egg is laid.  Our gut instinct is that this is a fly larva, perhaps that of a Tachinid Fly.  According to BugGuide:  “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars. Most tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of their host, and it is not uncommon to see caterpillars with several tachinid eggs on them. Upon hatching the larva usually burrows into its host and feeds internally. Full-grown larva leaves the host and pupates nearby. Some tachinids lay their eggs on foliage; the larvae are flattened and are called planidia; they remain on the foliage until they find a suitable host.”

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Subject: Bee Fly?
Location: Northern Arizona, Flagstaff
September 10, 2013 8:27 pm
Hi Bugman,
I photographed a rather large two winged fly on my Butterfly Bush in Flagstaff Az.
This is the high desert, 7, 000 feet above sea level.
Low humidity, day time highs around 70,
50 at night.
We get snow in the winter months.
The abdomen is bright orange in color and rather stunning.
They have large fly eyes unlike bees.
Thanks,
R.A in Flagstaff
Signature: R.A.

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly

Dear R.A.,
This is a Tachinid Fly, an important family of parasitoid insects.  We posted a similar looking Tachinid Fly from the mountains of New Mexico that we featured as a Bug of the Month and tentatively identified as
Adejeania vexatrix.

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Some kind of fly?
Location: Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada
July 12, 2013 2:59 pm
I found this flying around my vegetable garden today and have not been even close to finding a similar kind online. Hopefully you have an idea? I live in Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada. It was taken on July 12, 2013 in the summer time, although it was a really windy and abnormally cool day of only 15 degrees Celsius today.
Signature: Weird garden bug!!! Guaranteed you’ve never seen one!

Tachinid FLy

Tachinid FLy

This is a Tachinid Fly, and it might possibly be Hystricia abrupta, which you may see on BugGuide.  Tachinid Flies are parasitoids, meaning they lay eggs on other insects and arthropods, and the developing larvae eventually kill the host.  Many Tachinid Flies are parasitoids of caterpillars.

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Subject: I named him Ryno
Location: Costa rica Jungle
April 27, 2013 5:07 pm
This is a little friend I found deep in the Jungle in Costa Rica. Anyone who what he is?
Signature: Ryno

What's That Caterpillar???

What’s That Caterpillar???

Dear Ryno,
We do not recognize this unusual looking caterpillar.  Generally Butterfly Caterpillars are not hairy, but we suspect this might be a Nymphalid Caterpillar.

Keith Wolfe responds to our identification request
Greetings “Ryno” and Daniel, this is a last-instar Caligo atreus (http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/caterpillars/dblinks/searchplaycat4.lasso?-Search=GCAcaterpillars337&herbivore%20species=atreus).  Note the numerous white tachinid (http://www.nadsdiptera.org/Tach/Gen/tachintr.htm) eggs behind the head capsule, the inevitable doom of which it might possibly escape if pupation occurs before the maggots hatch.
Best wishes,
Keith

Hi Keith,
Thanks for getting back to us on this.  We didn’t realize those were Tachinid Fly eggs.  Good to know.  We hope this Owl Butterfly Caterpillar escapes being eaten alive by the fly larvae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination