Tachinid Fly

Re: SUBMISSION: What insects are on this caterpillar? – – 04/29/10
August 16, 2010
All I know about “insects” is that they annoy me, BUT I have an insatiable sense of curiosity and respect for Nature (and a Nikon Micro lens), SO thought I’d run this one past ya.  Is this a species of fly that is naturally hypomelanistic OR is it some albino variant?  SEE  2 images ATTACHED
Tore out my entire front porch the other day trying to capture a centipede from Mars.  I’m here in the Hill Country of Texas, so we see all manner of stinging inverts, but this one was the mother of all mothers.  She was HUGE.  I had 12″ dressing forceps on her twice, but was afraid of hurting her – to the point of losing her.  Better for her to be lose and intact than smishes, eh?  I’ve captured dozens of them around here, but this was 50% larger than any before.  I got eggs from some Central American centipedes twice, and this one reminded me of one of those (smaller, of course).
Don Soderberg
South Mountain Reptiles

Tachinid fly

Hi again Don,
The circuitous way you sent in this email, by responding to an older correspondence rather than by using our standard form, sent us off on a mission while working on your post.  First, we believed this fly looked like a Tachinid Fly (see BugGuide), a group of parasitoid flies that prey upon caterpillars among other insects.  We found a fly on BugGuide in the genus
Ornia that seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to your fly, but alas, BugGuide has no information on the genus, though there is data that it has been reported from across the continental U.S.  Now we wonder if perhaps this is the adult of the unidentified fly larvae that had parasitized the Underwing Caterpillar you submitted back in April and you subsequently used to submit this identification request.  You may have unwittingly provided an answer to your previous request. We will check with Eric Eaton to get his opinion on both this identification and our supposition on the previous identification request.

Tachinid Fly

Eric Eaton responds
August 18, 2010
I don’t know.  Ormia are parasites of crickets, though, not caterpillars.  I can’t draw any conclusions on this entire thing.  Tachinids are certainly not my specialty.  Sorry.

August 17, 2010
I’m sorry I didn’t submit per the usual channel.  It was late last night (this am), and my son brought it to me.  He’s not into animals per say, but has been around me enough to “wonder” when he sees something odd.  Since 100% of all the flies the average person sees in his/her life are black, seeing this one made him bring it to me.  Unfortunately, while I was resizing the pix, he turned it loose.  Like me, unless it’s one of our unwanted neighbors (L. reclusa), he prefers to see the animal released where they were found.  I’m proud of him for that, but wish I’d caught him before releasing that one.  Somebody may have wanted it for closer examination.  IF we see another, I’ll do something to make it ship-worthy in a hurry.  I’m a certified reptile shipper with Fed Ex, so I can get one from point A to point B in a hurry without raising eyebrows (in the event it’s a potential bio-polutant).
Thank you for your response,
Don Soderberg
South Mountain Reptiles

August 20, 2010
Thank you SO much for inquiring.  It’s wonderful to know that there are so many inverts on our special planet that it’s can still be difficult to find experts for each of them.

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