Monday, April 26, 2010


If I were to choose a single group of organisms for intense study, it could easily be the flies. Flies are a group with an immense diversity of species that interact with an almost infinite number of plants, animals and habitats. These first couple species are Tachinid Flies, a family of flies that spend their larval period as an insect parasite. The Tachinid family represents a large selection of flies that may differ greatly in size, shape and color. It may be that all the photos in this post are Tachinids, but I’m not sure of that.

Many Tachinid Flies display very pronounced abdominal bristles. If I were a frog, I don’t know that I would want to sling my tongue onto something like this.

The pattern on the rear of the fly may look like a faded slow moving vehicle sign, but these guys can be quite speedy. Finding that the direct approach easily spooked the flies, I adopted the willow in the wind stalking method and swayed my way into range. Witnesses to my photographic methods might be convinced that the beer cans slung along the roadway had actually come from me.

Gray striped jacked and bulging red eyes attracted my attention here. I got the impression that this tiny Dracula was trying its best to hypnotize me. This reminds me of a type of fly that I helped raise in school while I was volunteering in the insect rearing lab, but that fly had a gray eye color and could fill a 30 gallon trash can with several pounds of wriggly maggots.

Another set of large red eyes, this time set in a white face. The willowy legs and shape of the face remind me of a butterfly. The legs look like the type that would be very useful in sneaking up to lay eggs on some suspicious insect host.

This individual is displaying some long abdominal spines. Makes me wonder if this is also one of the varied shapes of the Tachinids. I’ll be spending more time this year watching the flies. Let me know if you have any recommendations of good fly identification guides.


  1. ...if I were a frog, I think I'd think twice about those bristles too! Cool photo...

  2. Thanks Kelly. It's fascinating to see these things close up.