Brown Phasiin Fly
Long Tongue Dexiin Fly I  
Golden-blue Tachinid Fly
Golden-brown Tachinid Fly 
Thin Long Legs Fly
Metallic Green Hairy Fly
Golden Tachinid Fly I
Golden Tachinid Fly II
Grey Tachinid Fly I
Blue Hairy Tachinid Fly
Black Hairy Tachinid Fly
Hairy-eyed Grey Tachinid
Processionary Cat. Para.
Grey Tachinid Fly II
Grey Tachinid Fly III
Grey Tachinid Fly IV
Grey Hairy Tachinid Fly
S. Grey Hairy Tachinid Fly
Grey Tachinid Fly V
Grey Tachinid Fly VI


Tachinid fly - Family Tachinidae

This page contains pictures and information about Tachinid Flies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Tachinid fly - parasites on caterpillars and other insects
Tachinidae is one of the largest families in order Diptera. Tachinid flies are relatively soft bodied, from small to large size insects. They may be drab, or brightly coloured, some are wasp-mimicking. Tachinid flies are extremely diverse in appearance and many do not have the typical grey-black, bristly faces.
Tachinid fly adults can be recognised by their subscutellum swollen which is distinct below scutellum. They have large bristles conspicuous on the body. Identification is based on the position, size and number of bristles on the body especially on thorax. Most of them look very similar and hard to be identified. 
All Tachinid Flies share the parasitoid habit. Their larvae are internal parasites of many orders and families of insects (and a few other arthropods). Their host ranges are relatively broad. They parasites on larvae of moths, larvae of butterflies, larvae and adults of beetles, adults of bugs, or adults of various orthopteroid orders, such as grasshoppers and stick insects. Depending on species, they develop either singly or in grope and either pupate in the dead host or leave the host and pupate in soil or plant litter.
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Hunting                                                                Mature larvae just emerge from host                       pupa     
Most species females lay soft eggs near or on host. Some species lay live young instead of eggs. The newly hatched larvae have to gain entry into the host. This is different to the parasitic Hymenoptera which females inject eggs inside the host's body with their ovipositor. Tachinid larvae allow their host to continue to feed and grow while they develop inside it rather than stopping the host development in some way. 
The larvae are maggots, often are worm-like and lacking appendages. They are adapted to live in their host. Adult flies can be found in almost all habitats, either resting on foliage, feeding on flowers or, in the case of females, flying quietly in search of hosts. Males may be seen resting on larger tree trunks waiting for mates.
For more details about the general life of Tachinid Flies, please visit our More about Tachinid page.
Four subfamilies are recognised in Tachinidae. However, it is believed should be more than four. 
We found quite a number of different species of  Tachinid Flies. Most of them look very similar and hard to be identified. However, we are quite sure they are in this family. There are four subfamilies recorded from Australia. They are listed as follows.


This subfamily parasitic in Hemiptera. Their abdomen is bare of bristles and is either globular or quite flat and round. Most of them are orange-brown in colours. It is believed that all species in this group are parasitoids of Heteroptera, or true bugs.
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Flies in Dexiinae (or Proseninae in some reference) mostly are parasitic in larval Coleoptera (beetle) especially Scarabaeidae. Adults are usually found resting on tree trunk. Usually the flies have long legs. They have well developed facial carina or sharp ridge between the antennae under eyes. Their arista are often plumose.
The Rutiliini include the largest and most handsome files. They are usually brilliant metallic colours. Usually they have long legs with face elongated under the eyes.
Flies in this group are usually found resting on tree trunk. Most of them have long legs, with face elongated under the eyes and often with a well developed facial carina or sharp ridge between the antennae. They are medium in size and usually drab grey to black in colours.


The Tachininae are mostly parasitic in Lepidoptera (moth and butterfly). Most of the are very bristly. They have more than one supra-alar bristle and prosternum is bare. Flies in Tachininae are more diverse and include some of the largest, most colorful, and most bristly of tachinids. This subfamily also includes some of the smallest and least conspicuous tachinids.


The subfamily Goniinae (or Exoristinae  in some reference) are mostly parasitic in Lepidoptera (moth and butterfly). They have more than one supra-alar bristle and prosternum is not bare. In this group most species are grayish black in color and moderately bristly. They are from medium to small in size. They looked very similar and hard to be distinguished.

Unknown Tachinid Fly 

Please send email to us if you know the ID of those Tachinid Flies.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p 784.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p376.
3. Family Tachinidae - Tachinid Flies -, 2007.
4. Family TACHINIDAE - Australasian/Oceanian Diptera Catalog -- Web Version, by Bryan K. Cantrell & Roger W. Crosskey.
5. On the Fly, The Interactive Atlas and Key to Australian Fly Families CD Rom - Hamilton, J. et al. 2006. Brisbane : CBIT & ABRS.
6. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
7. Family TACHINIDAE - Australian Biological Resources Study, Australian Faunal Directory. 
8. Homepage for Tachinidae Resources - by James E. O'Hara, Invertebrate Biodiversity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
9. TACHINIDAE: Evolution, Behavior, and Ecology - John O. Stireman, James E. O'Hara and D. Monty Wood, Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2006. 51:52555.
10. A conspectus of the Tachinidae (Diptera) of Australia, including keys to the supraspecific taxa and taxonomic and host catalogues - R.W. Crosskey, 1973, British Museum (Natural History), Bulletin Entomology Supplement 21.
11. A revisionary classification of the Rutiliini (Diptera: Tachinidae), : with keys to the described species - R.W. Crosskey, 1973, British Museum (Natural History), Bulletin Entomology Supplement 19. 

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Phasiinae ] Dexiinae ] Tachininae ] Goniinae ] Unknown Tachinid fly ] More about Tachinid flies ]



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Last updated: December 21, 2012.