Feather-Legged Fly from Portugal

Some kind of fly
Location:  Portugal
August 27, 2010 3:12 pm
I found this fly on my bean plants the other day. No idea what it is. Can you help me identifying it?

Feather-Legged Fly

Hi Dania,
We started to try to identify your fly on BugGuide before we realized you were writing from Portugal.  Your insect is a close match to the Feather-Legged Fly
Trichopoda pennipes, and we suspect it is closely related.  Feather-Legged Flies are Tachinid Flies and according to BugGuide:  “Adults feed on nectar, larvae are internal parasites of true bugs.  Life Cycle:  Adult female lays one to several eggs on a hemipteran host. The larvae hatch from the eggs and burrow directly into the bug’s body, though only one larva will survive within each host. The larva feeds on the host internally and eventually a large cream-colored maggot exits from body of the bug (which soon dies). The maggot pupates in a dark reddish-brown puparium in the soil and emerges as an adult about two weeks later. There are up to three generations a year depending on location, and larvae may overwinter in the bodies of overwintering hosts. BugGuide also indicates:  “Often used as biological control of hemipteran pest species such as squash bugs, stink bugs, and plant bugs.  May hover above squash plants in search of prey.  According to Paul Beuk it has been ‘introduced into Europe and is now frequently spotted in the south. Its exotic appearance has dumbfounded many a European entomologist. That final statement implies that Feather-Legged Flies are not native to Europe, so this fly may be a North American species afterall.  Your beautiful images are a wonderful addition to our archives.

Feather-Legged Fly

Thanks, Daniel.
That’s very interesting. I was quite intrigued by it since I had never seen anything like that before. Now I’m curious as to how common they are around here, I will certainly be paying more attention from now on. Thanks again.

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