Swift Feather-legged Fly

Trichopoda pennipes, a parasitic fly of uncommon colorfulness. They lay their eggs on true bugs and have been used as biological control agents against squash bugs and the Southern Green Stinkbug, a crop pest with world-wide distribution. The hairy “feather” on the tibiae of hind legs can be seen here: this is a fringe of stiff hairs.

Another interesting anatomical feature visible here are the large halteres. Halteres are structures where the second pair of wings should be. Flies, as their order name Diptera tells us, have only two wings, but four wings are the insect standard. If you look at that next mosquito closely, your’ll see their halteres, looking like tiny dumbbells. These wobble about, evidently helping with balance during flight. On the fly, the halteres look like scales: they are right behind the wings, covering the waist like orange plates.

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