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Feather-legged Fly (Trichopoda lanipes)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Feather-legged Fly

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Image Credit: Mark W. from Hamilton, ON
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While male Feather-legged Flies may have color on the abdomen, all have a hairy fringe growing on their legs.

Updated: 02/02/2022; Authored By ; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Feather-legged Flies are small flies that use other insects as hosts for their young. Females lay eggs on plant bugs. The young maggot hatches and grows into the body of a Stink, Leaf-footed, or Squash Bug, and feeds on it internally, eventually killing it. Because Stink and Squash Bugs attack produce, the presence of a Feather-legged Fly may be considered beneficial to a gardener.

Male and female flies in this genus look different from each other. Males tend to have orange abdomens, while females are completely black. Both sexes have long, black hairs on the back legs that appear feathery in texture. Dark, iridescent wings in some species have white veins that flare out from the body. All have big round eyes and short antennae, characteristics seen in flies.

While Feather-legged Flies can be found across the continent, some species are regional. Look for them among vegetable plants as females wait for a suitable host. Adults also visit flowers for nectar.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Feather-Legged-Fly

Florida Leaf-footed Bug; Southern Green Stink Bug; Squash Bug
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General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Tachinidae
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          Genus: Trichopoda
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            Species: lanipes
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Trichopoda lanipes
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 12mm (0.23" to 0.47")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white
Descriptors: black wings; white veins or lines on wings; flying; hairy legs; furry legs

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 12mm (0.5in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 9mm
Hi: 12mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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 Feather-legged 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 Feather-legged Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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