This insect was photographed using a Nikon CoolPix 990 in Aug. 2002 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tachinidae -- a Family of Parasitoid Flies
Adult tachinid flies are frequent flower visitors and may be important pollinators. Sentinel Plain, s.w. Maricopa Co., Arizona. March 2019. Ocotillo blooms.
Tachinids may look like typical flies but are anything but. Most are parasites
of other insects developing as a maggot on or within their host. A morbid
existence from the human perspective, yet very beneficial to many human
endeavors such as agriculture. Caterpillars, for example, are a frequent host
and many are destroyed thus curtailing crop losses. Most species are rather
specific in their host preference relying on usually one or a few closely
related insects/spiders. There are many hundreds of species to be found in the Sonoran Desert. Most are poorly studied.
The tachinid fly above emerged from a Queen Butterfly caterpillar.
Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page
Michael J. Plagens, page created 14 Sept. 2002,
updated 13 Dec. 2020.