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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

02 August, 2012

Parasitic Fly (Tachina grossa)

In general I am pretty positive about nature; I try to find some beauty or wonder in everything but what can I find to like about this? It is ugly, dirty and evil! It is a parasitic fly called Tachina grossa and it is certainly gross. It is quite common on heathland in August and September and in flight it looks like a bumble-bee but when it settles it becomes quite obvious very quickly that it is not a cute little furry insect but a rather disgusting fly.

It parasitises large caterpillars by laying its eggs inside them. The larvae then eat the insides of the caterpillar before pupating and overwintering as a pupae. Given its liking for large caterpillars and heathland I expect the large, woolly caterpillar of the fox moth is a favoured target as they, too, are quite common in late summer.

However unpleasant it still has a role to play in the wider scheme of things and so I guess its 'live and let live'!
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Find out more about Tachina grossa in Dorset here: www.natureofdorset.co.uk/species_panel/Parasitic%20fly%20...[T%20grossa]/nid&view_path=species_panel/Parasitic%20fly%20[T%20gr ossa]&view_base_path=species_master_basic&view_dom_id=2&pa ger_element=0&view_display_id=page_1