Subject: Tachinid Fly of Australia
Location: South-East Tasmania
December 14, 2014 8:21 pm
Photo taken 11 Dec 2014, SE Tasmania. Copyright David Irwin, 2014.
Nikon D7100; 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3; F.L. 600mm.
My husband photographed this blowfly sitting above the headlight of our car. It was approximately the size of a human thumb. [Ed Note:  This should be thumb nail.] This photo shows great detail in the face of the fly. I have several images, as the fly stayed put, no matter how close we came. Though we couldn’t get too close, because on that occasion, David had the large 600mm zoom mounted and needed to get a few metres away for it to focus. It also had a very deep hum when it eventually flew off (when I went to compare size to my thumb[nail]). However, the one posted here is the clearest. Hand holding a heavy zoom lense is difficult.
This bug website (Whats This Bug) has 2 distinctly different Tachinid Flies (with a striking white band) on file, one is the ‘Bristle Fly’, or Amphibolia Vidua (my photo submitted), and one is the Formosia Specia, which is detailed in this scientific record:;jsessionid=9203058C513D7BAD7223F7123AD42FA6
Both flies look similar, but there are distinct differences – I have also detailed the two flies in my FB post here:
with more photos from flickr, and ‘Atlas of Living Australia’.
What I’ve been able to find out is that Amphibolia vidua has 2 black dots on the white band [and even if they join, they still are identifyable as 2], and Formosia Specia has one black dot on the white band, with 2 white extensions towards the fly’s tail. Their eyes are set differently, too. Both occur in Tasmania, and Australian mainland.
cheers from down under
Signature: Marlies

Bristle Fly

Bristle Fly

Dear Marlies,
Thanks for your rigorous pursuit of the identity of your Bristle Fly,
Amphibolia vidua, and also for explaining the differences between this species and Formosia (Euamphibolia) speciosa, another Bristle Fly or Tachinid Fly in the same family.

Hello Daniel
What a journey that was! A fly took charge of almost an entire week! But it was fun 🙂
I must say, I was a little distracted by my heart monitor, and other associated ‘things’, and haven’t exactly paid attention too much whether I made any sense at all – I do apologize if I confused everyone.
My husband photographed Amphibolia Vidua. This is the image I submitted. I then found another image attached to the Australian site ‘Atlas of Living Australia’, of which I posted the link (;jsessionid=9203058C513D7…); THAT image on that site was of the Formosia Speciosa image that I mentioned. (Yes, both are Tachinid Flies, or Bristle Flies – that took a while to sink in with me, as I had no idea that there was any difference between a fly and a fly, before all of this – tho I know there are flies here that look like honey bees, and they wait for honey bees to come along, then ambush and kill them, I’ve observed them do it).
Here is the link to the image details – I think you may be able to link to the photo (which brings the photo up on your site).
You also have a photo of a Formosia Speciosa (post titled ‘Australian Tachinid Fly appears to be Formosia speciosa’, and it is the one where I posted all of my ‘findings’, and where you replied to my expansive ramblings).
So, you do have both flies; they’re difficult to distinguish, but somehow, by counting the dots, I managed to join them (pardon the pun). And others clearly identify the Amphibolia Vidua – I’ve posted the relevant flickr posts on my facebook thread about the fly …
It’s been a real pleasure fiddling with a peculiar blow fly for once, and to leaf through your website – what a treasure trove; great stuff – love it. If I ever come across a bug again that I can’t identify, your website will certainly be my #1 stop.
I hope that you’ll correct my typo, which says the fly is about the size of a ‘human thumb’ … it certainly is not, it is the size of a HUMAN THUMB NAIL – and I did it twice in the same text.
Best wishes to you
cheerio from downunder

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Location: Tasmania, Australia

2 Responses to Bristle Fly from Australia: Amphibolia vidua

  1. Marlies Bugmann says:

    Small correction – of course, the fly is NOT the size of a ‘human thumb’, it is about the size of a HUMAN THUMB NAIL. – typo … I was distracted by the mesmerizing painting on the fly’s backside 🙂

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