BioImages: The Virtual Field-Guide (UK)

TACHINIDAE (parasitoid flies)

Subtaxa (ie subgroups of this Family)

Suggested Literature

Identification Works

Audcent, H., 1932 Bristol insect fauna: Diptera (part 5)
Belshaw, R., 1993 Tachinid Flies (Diptera: Tachinidae)
Cerretti, P., 2006 Taxonomy and biogeography of West Palaearctic Tachinidae (Diptera) including an interactive key to the genera and faunistic data-base
Raper, C., in prep. Belshaw (1993) Keys & Species Accounts (revised by Chris Raper)
Tachinidae Recording Scheme: Tachinidae Recording Scheme
The Tachinids (Diptera: Tachinidae) of Central Europe: Identification Keys for the Species and Data on Distribution and Ecology. The Tachinids (Diptera: Tachinidae) of Central Europe: Identification Keys for the Species and Data on Distribution and Ecology.
Tschorsnig, H.-P. & Herting, B., 1994 Die Raupenfliegen (Diptera: Tachinidae) Mitteleuropas: Bestimmungstabellen und Angaben zur Verbreitung und ├ľkologie der einzelnen Arten
Tschorsnig, H.-P. & Richter, V.A., 1998 3.54 Family Tachinidae
van Emden, F.I.,, 1954 (The newer Belshaw key is much easier.) Diptera: Cyclorrhapha Calyptrata (I) Sect (a) Tachinidae and Calliphoridae
Wainwright, C.J., 1928 The British Tachinidae
Wainwright, C.J., 1932 The British Tachinidae (Diptera) First Supplement
Wainwright, C.J., 1940 The British Tachinidae (Diptera) Second Supplement

BioInfo BioInfo ( has 41 general literature references to TACHINIDAE (parasitoid flies)

TACHINIDAE may also be covered by literature listed under:

(living things)
(insects and other 6-legged organisms)
(true insects)
(two-winged flies)
(short-horned flies)
(hover, scuttle, acalypterate, dung, house & parasitoid flies, blue/green bottles)

BioInfo BioInfo ( has 960 feeding and other relationships of TACHINIDAE (parasitoid flies)

Further Information

Formerly known as (synonyms) Larvaevoridae
Notes (MWS) A large family of bristly flies with often striking colouration. The tachinid life-cycle was famously the inspiration for Ridley Scott's "Alien" film!

The larvae are internal parasitoids of other invertebrates, mostly insects, and especially Lepidoptera. Most species are restricted to a small number of host species which are either related or share the same ecology and gross morphology.

The oviposition strategies are very varied from those which lay eggs and wait for the host larvae to find them (like Ridley Scott's Alien), to other species which retain the egg until it is about to hatch before inserting it into the body of the victim.

The larva develops inside the growing host larva, feeding on non-essential organs. Finally the parasitoid larva becomes full grown and breaks out of the host which then usually dies. The larva pupariates and, after a suitable interval, the adult emerges.

The adults visit flowers and include several large distinctive species which are very common in summer.
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