Subject: tropical fly
Location: Highlands, Papua New Guinea
January 31, 2015 12:16 am
Found this in our village where we work as missionaries. Never seen anything like it and am wondering what kind it is. (See attached pic)
Signature: David Ogg
This is a beautiful and colorful Fly, and we are relatively certain it is a Tachinid Fly in the family Tachinidae. Tachinid Flies are parasitoids. The female lays an egg on a very host specific prey, and the larval Tachinid Fly feeds on the internal organs eventually killing the host, at which time it will form a puparium and eventually emerge as an adult 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.” We are attempting to provide you with a species identification for this distinctive, probable Tachinid Fly. The Tachinid Collection pictured on Tachinidae Resources includes Rutilia (Donovanius) regalis, which looks similar to your individual, but we are not even certain of that species’ range.