26 November 2010

Muscid fly, Ruahine Range

Update:  Well, this is embarrassing! As Stephen points out (see comments), this belongs to the family Muscidae, not Tachinidae.

Flies in the Family Tachinidae ("TackIN-id-ay") parasitise other insects (and, rarely, other invertebrates). Their larvae grow inside the host until they finally kill it (the Alien had a similar lifestyle); consequently, some tachinid flies have important roles as biological controls for pests of agricultural and horticultural crops. New Zealand has a comparatively large tachinid fauna; this, which I photographed a couple of days ago at the top of the No. 1 Line track, is an individual of just one of the hundreds of species.

[24 November 2010, Canon 20D, 100 mm f2.8, ISO 800, 1/500s at f11, flash (strobe)] 

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Paul said...

Something so intriguing about this photo -- scary, but something other than that as well. Perhaps it's a residual effect after having watched the movie, "The Fly".

Great photo at ISO 800

pohanginapete said...

Paul, flies are fascinating and spectacular, but their lifestyles are often bizarre and scary (terrifying if you're a potential host for some of these species).

I should admit the ISO 800 setting wasn't deliberate — I'd forgotten to set it back to 200 after photographing without flash in the shade. Still, the capabilities of even APS-sized digital sensors are pretty amazing, particularly when coupled with some judicious noise reduction in Lightroom.

leonie said...

I always learn new things when I come here and today is no exception.

Stunning photo and great explanation once again.

pohanginapete said...

Leonie, thanks. I love showing these things to people who appreciate them — and most people, I think, do appreciate these small, overlooked things when they get the chance to see how fantastic they are (in all senses).

Stephen Thorpe said...

I hate to be a party pooper, but this fly belongs to family Muscidae, not Tachinidae!

pohanginapete said...

Stephen, no need to apologise — thanks for the correction! I'll update the post accordingly.