'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Bristle Fly

This tiny, rugby-jerseyed, bristly creature (Trigonospila brevifacies) is a fly I don't think I've ever seen before. It is an Australian introduction, brought over to New Zealand to help control leafroller caterpillars. The female rests on leaves during her quest looking for her prey. When she finds one of the little leafroller caterpillars (that often curl up my orange tree leaves) she lays her eggs on it. Then it's the usual rather gross story: when the maggot hatches it eats the caterpillar. My Andrew Crowe book says that unfortunately we don't know the impact T. brevifacies is having on the harmless native leafroller moth.

You can see why this group of flies is called bristle flies. Maybe it's the insect equivalent of designer stubble. Except on females.


  1. Lovely little beast. Happy new Year.

  2. Thank you Adrian. Same to you!

  3. I'm not sure that I would apply the adjective 'lovely' to the little beast. Perhaps colourful or interesting or even hairy would be more apt. The post was educational and interesting though and in the tradition of your eclectic posts. Lets face it from defining a corkscrew with reference to lysis to Eye Candy takes quite a leap.

  4. Geeb - Thank you for your praise, but I don't deserve all of it: I didn't intend any reference to lysis... Corkerlyser Man is just what the kids call it.

  5. That's always the problem with biological control, isn't it? You don't know the impact these things will have on your own native species ... and when you find out, it's too late!

    It's a pretty thing, though, and a nice photo - at least the second one is. The first is a tad small for me to see and I can't get it to open up.

  6. Indeed Jay. Yes, sorry about the non-embiggerationableness of these images. I moved them around once they were on the page, which, as we blogspotters all know, you can't do.