Subject: Tick-like Insect?
Location: Becket, MA
November 17, 2013 10:34 am
What is this?? I found it crawling on my neck yesterday . I felt a tickle and pinch, just like a tick feels as it is trying to attach. When I handled it, the body was much softer than a ticks and it appears to have three body segments rather than two (like a tick). It’s six legs looked much like those of a wood tick.
This appears to be a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae. They normally prey upon warm blooded mammals like deer or sheep, and some species feed prey upon birds. In they absence of their normal prey, they have been known to bite humans. Many species of Louse Flies do have wings and they are capable of feeble flight, but they lose the wings when they find a host to feed upon, sucking blood for nourishment. See BugGuide for additional information.