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Parasitic Fly (Prosenoides flavipes)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Parasitic Fly

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This silvery gray Parasitic Fly is found in an unusually small range for flies: just Florida and Georgia.

Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Parasitic Flies are parasites to other insects. Female flies lay fertilized eggs on the backs of other insects, or on leaves near where insects travel where they may be picked up or ingested. Once on a host, a hatched larvae digs into the insect and feeds on its insides. It is a gruesome way to grow, but the result of this lifestyle reduces the population size of some insects that are considered pests. Many garden-destroying caterpillars are victims to Parasitic Flies, and their early demise can mean a good harvest. The hosts of this particular species are types of beetles.

The benefits of Parasitic Flies seem to outweigh the morbid way larvae feed, and many species are actually used as biological controls for pest species. Prosenoides flavipes adults drink flower nectar and have a long proboscis and large red eyes. Two rows of spiky hairs between the eyes almost crisscross and form a mohawk. The silver body has short flecks of black and the legs are a reddish-brown. Sparse black hairs stick out all over the body, but especially by the rear end. This fly is harmless to people. Look for this small fly in garden and meadows as it moves between flowers and leaves.

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Tachinidae
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          Genus: Prosenoides
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            Species: flavipes
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Prosenoides flavipes
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 8mm (0.27" to 0.31")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gray; black; red
Descriptors: long nose; snout; tongue; red eyes; silver fly; hairs; flying; nectar

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 7mm (0.3in) and 8mm (0.3in)
Lo: 7mm
Md: 7.5mm
Hi: 8mm
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 Parasitic 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 Parasitic Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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