Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Flying Flat Flies!

Another avian blood feeder for your delectation; you didn't think we were just going to stop at one did you?

Last time we told you about a flightless host specialist (at least it was very picky) but this time we have a species that can be described as a flighted host-hussy of a flat fly; Ornithomya avicularia.

With three others of its kind, this specimen of O. avicularia ably demonstrated its species’ ability to fly by flitting into the face of the ringer who was extracting their host. In this case they were partaking of blackbird but as a species, O. avicullaria is Catholic in its tastes; Hutton lists preferred hosts in orders rather than single species. It seems to prefer bigger birds though, with blackbird being at the smaller end of its hosts.
There are another two species of Ornithomya in the UK which seem to be just as unfussy as O. avicularia, so "hopefully" we'll be finding those soon... Worldwide there are 29 known species. We will not be featuring them all.

O. avicullara is a little more attractive than Crataerina hirundinis
but, lets face its, when it comes to flat flies its relative.

This is a female, the little disc between the "bum cheeks" is, apparently, the way
you tell... You can also see how the wings of this species are actually useful. 

Even parasites get parasites (hyperparasitism) and this specimen had its own
passenger; a louse or something. Don't worry we're not planning a series of
"parasites of flatflies".... Hyperparasitism doesn't seem to be that common in
 F-flies; Walter (1989, Angew Parasitol 1989 vol 30) 4 out of 153 O. avicularia
were infested by something called Microlichus avus.
That's all we're going to say on the subject.


Side view for completeness.


  1. Do they partake in Homo sapiens too?

    Some Bay based Hexapod has been feasting on my blood.

  2. Na just birds Wayne; you'll have been nabbled by something worse but not as bad a Ti.