Every Flyday (Friday) mom and I will post pictures of flying insects or anything that flies. Not flying saucers, sorry. 😀
Feel free to join in the fun, then submit your link in the comment section of my Flyday post and I will come and visit. 🙂
Today our subject is the Tachinid Fly. Some would say that it’s not a very good-looking fly, but mom had fun taking pictures and she thinks they are cute. My mom has weird taste, but that is why I love her so much. 😀
These little flies belong to the large and variable family of true flies within the insect order Diptera. There are more than 8,200 known species and many more to be discovered.
This little Tachinid fly did not want to leave the glass tank and gave mom the chance to take quite a few photos of it.
We sat and watched how the wings of this little Tachinid fly start unfolding. Nature is just so amazing!
The larvae (maggots) of most members of this family are parasitioids (developing inside a living host, ultimately killing it).
In contrast a few are parasitic (not generally killing the host). They feed on the host tissues, either having been injected into the host by the parent, or penetrating the host from outside.
Tachinid larvae are endoparasites (internal parasites) of caterpillars (like the one above), butterflies and moths. Some have been found to lay eggs in African sugarcane borer larva, a species of moth common in sun-Saharan Africa.
Some species attack adult beetles and their larvae. Others attack various types of true-bugs and others attack grasshoppers and a few even attack centipedes. Also parasitized are bees, wasps and sawflies.
Usually only one egg is laid on or in any individual host and tend to be large. They can be clearly visible if stuck onto the outside of the host.
Another strategy of oviposition among some Tachinidae is to lay large numbers of small, darkly coloured eggs on the food plants of the host species, which is what could have happened here.
My human brothers are always bringing bugs for mom to take photos of and this was one of them. This caterpillar belongs to the family Lasiocampidae, a family of moths also known as eggars, snout moths or lappet moths.
Mom put it in a little glass tank after giving it water and kept it in there overnight, but the next morning it turned into a cocoon, so we left it like that.
We do not know if the Tachinid fly laid the eggs on the caterpillar or inside, but after a few days mom and the boys noticed the little black eggs, but left it there with the cocooned caterpillar.
One morning younger brother came running to mom and told her there are bees in the little glass tank where mom had the caterpillar and eggs. They took them outside and found out it was little Tachinid flies.
Mom opened the little glass tank so they could fly away, as many Tachinids are important natural enemies of major insect pests, and some species actually are used in biological pest control, for instance, some species of Tachinid flies have been introduced into North America from their native lands as bio controls to suppress populations of alien pests.
Conversely, certain tachinid flies that prey on useful insects are themselves considered as pests. Some cause problems in the sericulture industry by attacking silkworm larvae.
Tachinid flies also parasitizes the Asian Corn Borer, a moth pest of maize commonly found in East Asia. This has allowed them to be used as biological control agents by farmers. Due to the lack of specificity in choosing hosts Tachinidae are considered generalist biological control agents.
Adult flies feed on flowers and nectar from aphids and scale insects. As many species typically feed on pollen, they can be important pollinators of some plants, especially at higher elevations in mountains where bees are relatively few.
This is the end of this Flyday’s ‘lesson’. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. Mom love taking pictures of all these little bugs that we hardly ever see and it is so interesting to learn about them, don’t you think?
Have a wonderful weekend!
We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.”