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NC State Extension

Trichopoda Fly

  • Common Name: Trichopoda Fly
  • General Category: Parasitoid
  • Taxonomic Classification: Diptera: Tachinidae
  • Scientific Name: Trichopoda pennipes

Description

These flies parasitize several species of true bugs such as stink bugs and squash bugs. The adults lay oval-shaped globular eggs on adults or nymphs. When eggs hatch the larvae burrow into their host where they feed until they are ready to pupate. They then exit the host through the rear end, after which the host soon dies. While larvae are inside the host they suppress reproduction.

Trichopoda fly adult Trichopoda fly larva

Identification

Review the images for tips on how to identify these predators.

Adults

These flies differ from other tachinids in that they don’t have bristly abdomens. They also have a distinctive orange abdomen and black wings. Like other flies, they only have 2 wings (as opposed to 4 in wasps and bees) (see comparison). Like all flies, their hind wings are greatly reduced (named halteres), and are used to balance them in flight. They also have very small antennae, as opposed to the long, often “elbowed” antennae in wasps and bees (see comparison). Their eyes are often larger than those of wasps and bees, and may look like they wrap around the head.

Larvae

Because the grub-like larvae are internal parasites of stink bugs, they are not normally seen unless a host is dissected or a larva happens to finish development and emerge from a bug while being observed. However, the eggs can often be seen on the exoskeleton of the host.

Value in Pest Management

Because the grub-like larvae are internal parasites of stink bugs, they are not normally seen unless a host is dissected or a larva happens to finish development and emerge from a bug while being observed. However, the eggs can often be seen on the exoskeleton of the host.

Origin and Distribution

Introduced, throughout the United States.

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