Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Explanation of Names
Tachinidae Robineau-Desvoidy 1830
Second largest dipteran family (after Tipulidae), with ~1350 spp. in >300 genera of 4 subfamilies in our area(1)
and >10,000 spp. in ~1600 genera worldwide; it is possible that only half of the species have been described(2)(3)(4)
Overview of our fauna
* –taxa not yet in the guide; classification adapted from the North American catalog(1)
updated by the African catalog(5)
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.
worldwide and throughout NA
Practically anywhere. Can be abundant on sunny hilltops looking for mates.
larvae parasitize insects (and a few other arthropods, incl. millipedes, spiders, scorpions)(2)(7)
; adults may take nectar
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
. Some 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)
Most hibernate in the pupal stage.
Some examples of eggs on hosts
At least 16 species have been introduced as biological controls (Grenier 1988