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Bee-like Tachinid Fly (Hystricia abrupta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Bee-like Tachinid Fly

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The Bee-like Tachinid Fly looks like an unsightly, hairy mess, but this fly is very useful in controlling nuisance insects.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Bee-like Tachinid Fly larvae are lethal predators to insects people may find problematic. Most of these fly larvae feed on the caterpillars of pesky moth species. Because of their diet, some Tachinid Flies have been deliberately imported from other areas to control destructive moth populations. The female Bee-like Tachinid Fly lays a couple of fertilized eggs on or near a moth caterpillar. The caterpillar may inadvertently eat the eggs as it chews on the leaf the eggs were on. A larva will feed on its internal parts until the caterpillar dies. The fly larva will then drop to the ground and dig a burrow where it will pupate and develop into a flying adult.

Adults have red bodies that get darker at the tip of the abdomen. Color variations exist with individuals. Some are more yellow, or orange, while others have more red. A black line runs down the center of the body. It is covered in black, spiky hairs. Transparent wings flare out to the sides at an angle. This particular species of Tachinid Fly can be found on flowers or in marshy areas during the summer and autumn. Adults drink nectar.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Tachinidiae
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          Genus: Hystricia
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            Species: abrupta
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hystricia abrupta
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 13mm (0.39" to 0.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, red, orange, yellow
Descriptors: hairy, flying, spiky

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 13mm (0.5in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 11.5mm
Hi: 13mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Bee-like Tachinid Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Bee-like Tachinid Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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