Here we were, thinking we had seen all the bugs in our garden, when this character arrived on the kitchen windowsill. The photograph is taken on the relevant page of ‘The Reed Handbook of Common Insects.’ It was very tricky to get a picture of, & buzzed very disgruntledly.

Geoff trying to photograph TachinidGiant Hairy Tachinid

This is really a very bristly sort of fly, with a pointy head & striped abdomen.  All the Tachinids are parasitic, laying their eggs in larvae of butterflies, beetles & moths. According to our Reed’s book, this one lays it’s eggs in the Porina Moth caterpillars, & the flies can be seen flying over grassland looking for lunch for their young. It’s of the Protohystricia species, when I googled images, dozens of species came up, especially from Australia. I didn’t see this one though, it is a native, found South of Auckland.

Interestingly the Porina Moth can be a big problem on pastures, the caterpillars emerge at night to feed on the grass. Reed describes them as ‘flabby & they secrete a brown fluid,’  the book also notes that the adult moths have no mouth parts, so life is brief. Finally it notes that ‘ in a few evenings, the female can lay thousands of eggs, spraying them over the pasture like a topdressing plane.’

It’s all very mysterious & weird out there in the backyard jungle.

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