Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Family Tachinidae

Gonia frontosa? - Gonia Gymnosoma Flesh fly? Tachinid Fly - Archytas Gymnosoma ? - Gymnosoma Fly - Cylindromyia Fly with orange and black abdomen - Tachina Trichopoda pennies - Trichopoda
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Calyptratae)
Superfamily Oestroidea
Family Tachinidae
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
current taxonomy in(1)
Numbers
second-largest dipteran family (after Tipulidae), with 1,345 spp. in 303 genera of 4 subfamilies in our area(1) and >10,000 spp. in >1500 genera worldwide; it is possible that only half of the species have been described(2)(3)
Overview of our fauna
* –taxa not yet in the guide; classification adapted from(1)
Family Tachinidae
SUBFAMILY DEXIINAE
SUBFAMILY EXORISTINAE
SUBFAMILY PHASIINAE
SUBFAMILY TACHININAE
Tribe Ormiini Ormia
Identification
Many tachinids are similar in general appearance to muscids and flesh flies; many are large, bristly, and beelike or wasplike in appearance. Presence of a subscutellum is a useful character:
  
Bristle pattern, facial conformation, and antennal shapes all help identify genera; images that show these features have a better chance of being identified.
Range
worldwide and throughout NA
Habitat
Practically anywhere. Can be abundant on sunny hilltops looking for mates.
Food
larvae parasitize insects (and a few other arthropods, incl. millipedes, spiders, scorpions)(2)(5); adults may take nectar
Life Cycle
Current knowledge summarized in(2)
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.
Eggs (1 and 2), larvae (3 and 4), puparium (5)

Some examples of eggs on hosts
Internet References
(6)