Parasite hitching a ride on a blood sucking fly

I thought this was a Craterina but have been advised that it of the Ornithomyia species and is a blood-sucking bird parasite.

This blood- sucking flatfly landed on my head.

When I squashed it I noticed on it's abdomen are neatly arranged lice called mallophaga which are hitching a ride.

A very neat way of getting about if your host is a bird and you're only 1mm long and wingless.

I've seen a pseudo-scorpion hitching a ride by gripping on to a housefly before, but this is the first time I've seen lice hitching a ride.

There isn't much info about this on the internet so if you have any comments please let me know.

Are the malophaga just hitching a ride or are they parasitising the Ornithomyia?

Neil Bromhall is the Producer and photographer of the Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac


AR said...

This is fascinating! What sort of lice are we talking about here? Head lice, bed lice or other? Can the Craterina be problematic for us humans? Is it something to be aware of /beware of in our garden world?


Neil Bromhall said...

Dear Allyson,
The lice and Craterina will only be a problem to birds and similar species that parasitise bats. They won't be able to live off humans.
They are fascinating little critters