May 29, 2011
Though this letter was submitted nearly a year ago, we discussed with Frederique Lavoipierre the possibility of making the Tachinid Fly the featured Bug of the Month for June 2011.
What is this bug?
Location: Cloudcroft Observatory, New Mexico.
September 10, 2010 4:11 pm
Hello. I was curious about a bug I saw in the mountains at Cloudcroft, New Mexico. This bug was found at the Cloudcroft Observatory. It seemed a lot like a bee because it buzzed, but it looked totally different than one.
This bug was seen in August, 2010.
The color palette of your photograph is so beautiful. This is a Tachinid Fly, probably Adejeania vexatrix based on images posted to BugGuide. Adult Tachinid Flies take nectar from flowers, but immature larvae are endoparasites on a variety of insects and arthropods, often limiting themselves to a single species.
Bug of the Month
May 29, 2011
We are taking this opportunity to make our readership aware of the beneficial flies in the family Tachinidae by linking to the BugGuide information page on the family. We are also providing a link to the Pacific Horticulture website and the online article on Tachinid Flies submitted by Frédérique Lavoipierre, Garden Ecologist. Here is an excerpt from that article: “Tachinids are the most diverse family of Diptera (true flies), and help control many pests; of the parasitic insects, only parasitoid wasps are of greater importance. All of the known species of tachinids are parasitoids: they deposit their eggs on or near host arthropods, and the larvae parasitize the host, in most cases resulting in the victim’s death. Parasitoids (as opposed to parasites) are free-living as adults; many of the common garden tachinids are flower visitors, feeding on nectar and pollen as adults. Tachinids parasitize a broad range of hosts from several orders of insects, among them Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Coleoptera (beetles, especially scarabs and leaf beetles), and Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets). In the Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, and ants), they specialize on sawflies, a common herbivorous pest. They are also known to attack a few other arthropods besides insects, particularly centipedes.”
Update: June 29, 2011
Took me a bit longer than I thought to wrap up my thesis, and someone in the department just pointed out the tachinid ‘bug of the month’ to me yesterday. At any rate, it was very cool to see tachinids in a starring role!