Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Subject: Unidentified hitchhiker found in arm hair
Location: Newbury, VT
October 18, 2014 7:50 pm
I returned from a walk in the woods and felt a crawler under my shirt sleeve. I pulled my sleeve back expecting a tick and found this tiny critter instead. He was hanging on for dear life and could not be extracted by hand. We used my “mustache comb” to disentangle it and then snapped some pictures . The last picture shows how small it is compared to a tweezer. It seemed rather soft-bodied…
Signature: Dan in the NEK, VT

Hi Dan,
This is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  According to BugGuide:  “This group includes wingless and winged forms. Most winged ones are dark brownish and smaller than house flies. Flat shape and leathery appearance.”
  Winged species have feeble flight and often loose their wings upon landing on a host animal where they can suck blood.  BugGuide also notes:  “Most are found on birds, others on mammals” and we have discovered that some species are found on livestock and others on deer.  Louse Flies can be opportunistic, and if they cannot locate their typical prey, some will feed on human blood.

Location: Newbury, Vermont

3 Responses to Louse Fly

  1. I thought a fly without wings was called a walk.

  2. They have wings Timothy. My local vet put up a “guess the bug” post after finding one on an injured bird. The vet nurses were a bit weirded out by it.

  3. Ps a fly without wings is in fact a raisin

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