Tachinid Flies

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HPIPM Home > Woody Ornamentals > Miscellaneous > Biological Controls of Insects Associated with Trees and Shrubs >Tachinid Flies
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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Hexapoda (including Insecta)
Order: Diptera
Family: Tachinidae
Genus: Trichopoda
Species: T. pennipes
Scientific Name
Trichopoda pennipes
(Fabricius, 1781)
Common Names

tachinid fly, feather-legged fly

Compiled by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University:

Tachinid Flies

Diptera: Tachinidae

Tachinid flies develop as parasites inside other insects. Tachinids are about the size of a house fly, generally gray or brown, and covered with dark bristles. They are rarely seen but often leave their 'calling card', a white egg laid on various caterpillars, beetles and bugs, usually near the head. Douglas-fir tussock moth, tent caterpillars, and fall webworm are among the insects commonly attacked by tachinid flies.

The eggs hatch within the day and the young fly maggots tunnel into their host. There they feed for about a week (carefully avoiding the vital organs until the end), eventually killing the host insect.

Photo by Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Tachinid fly egg on a stink bug.
View in Bugwood Image Database
Tachinid fly egg on a stink bug.
Photo by Sturgis McKeever, Georgia Southern University, Bugwood.org
Tachinid fly pupae.
View in Bugwood Image Database
Tachinid fly pupae.

The information herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and that listing of commercial products, necessary to this guide, implies no endorsement by the authors or the Extension Services of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Criticism of products or equipment not listed is neither implied nor intended. Due to constantly changing labels, laws and regulations, the Extension Services can assume no liability for the suggested use of chemicals contained herein. Pesticides must be applied legally complying with all label directions and precautions on the pesticide container and any supplemental labeling and rules of state and federal pesticide regulatory agencies. State rules and regulations and special pesticide use allowances may vary from state to state: contact your State Department of Agriculture for the rules, regulations and allowances applicable in your state and locality.

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