With a world wide distribution of some ten thousand species, the tachinids have been loosely organized according to common parasitic strategies along with common physical traits.
For example, the smallest subfamily of Tachinidae, the Phasiinae, usually get classified as the least hairy tachinids that parasitize true bugs (order Heteroptera).
Entomologists generally converge on the idea that most Tachininae species, along with other tachinids, adopt a parasitic reproductive strategy that targets members of the Lepidoptera order, butterflies and moths, as the host for their larvae.
Furthermore, because so many moth larvae are classified as agricultural pests, tachinids that parasitize them often get classified as beneficial insects. The use of tachinid flies to control gypsy moth infestations of forests serves as one of the most prominent examples of their use as biological control agents.
Type of Flies
Types of Insects
The proven and potential utility of Tachinidae gives them a prominent place in present and future entomological research.
North America hosts over five dozen different tachinid genera. As a rule of thumb, tachinids can be identified by their hairy and/or colorful abdomens.
The top picture shows two colorful tachnid species with red bodies.
Picture one shows a species in the Gymnosoma genus. A quick look reveals its hairless body contradicts the common tachinid fly appearances.
Smaller than the average house fly, the orange and black abdomen of the Gymnosoma, makes it fairly easy to identify. Additional tachinid species share similar abdominal patterns, however, those species also have the extended hair.
Adults often nectar on flowers and lay their eggs on stink bugs and shield bugs.
Gymnosoma fuliginosum, the most common species, exhibits variations on the abdominal dark patterns depending on their geographic location.
A brown thorax and red, hairy abdomen are characteristic of the Hystricia genus of tachinid flies.
They can be found in a variety of non-grassland habitats across North America and Mexico.
© 2006-2013 Patricia A. Michaels