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The fly that tricks ants and who never grows up.

phorid fly myrmecophile parasite ant guest ant guests army ants

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#1 Offline futurebird - Posted July 27 2022 - 5:06 AM

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YjnGBtT.png

(A pile of ant larvae, one if the phorid fly from the other photo. The ant larvae are pretty much identical except the fly is more opaque and has a tiny brown round nub at each end.)

Imagine you run a nursery. You & your sisters care for many helpless babies. One day you notice a baby is... different. It never grows up. It's not a baby ant! It's an adult phorid fly! A fly without legs, or wings! Can you spot the fake?

Can you spot the fake? 

 

tUCEUkn.png
(An army ant on a brown leaf carrying what seems, at first, to be an ant larvae under her body by holding it in her mandibles. It's not a larvae... it's the imposter.)

This ant is not carrying a larvae but one of the phorid flies. She found it and is taking it to the nursery where it "belongs" We don't know the whole life cycle of this sneaky parasitic insect yet. It was only discovered in 1995 and there is much more research to be done!

 

t2k4g9d.png
(Electron microscope photo of the head of the phorid fly. You can see two eyes and fly-like mouth parts and antennae but they are very atrophied and small.)

 

Vestigipoda sp. trick army ants into taking care of them.

 

I cannot stress how WIERD it is that an *adult* fly is totally immobile & looks like a larvae of another species. (army ants in this case)

 

Under a microscope you can see the fly-like features of Vestigipoda's face. Incredible becoming totally "helpless" is such an effective adaptation. I really want to know what the entire life cycle is like. How do they mate? What are they like when they are maggots? Are they disappointed to be a maggot and pupate only to still be a helpless larvae?

 

F3ElXcb.png

(Close up of the adult phorid fly, which looks like a larvae. A thought bubble says "Damn… I guess this is as good as it gets.")

 

Source for images.


  • smares and FloridaAnts like this

Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#2 Offline FloridaAnts - Posted July 27 2022 - 11:13 AM

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YjnGBtT.png
(A pile of ant larvae, one if the phorid fly from the other photo. The ant larvae are pretty much identical except the fly is more opaque and has a tiny brown round nub at each end.)

Imagine you run a nursery. You & your sisters care for many helpless babies. One day you notice a baby is... different. It never grows up. It's not a baby ant! It's an adult phorid fly! A fly without legs, or wings! Can you spot the fake?
Can you spot the fake? 
 
tUCEUkn.png(An army ant on a brown leaf carrying what seems, at first, to be an ant larvae under her body by holding it in her mandibles. It's not a larvae... it's the imposter.)
This ant is not carrying a larvae but one of the phorid flies. She found it and is taking it to the nursery where it "belongs" We don't know the whole life cycle of this sneaky parasitic insect yet. It was only discovered in 1995 and there is much more research to be done!
 
t2k4g9d.png(Electron microscope photo of the head of the phorid fly. You can see two eyes and fly-like mouth parts and antennae but they are very atrophied and small.)
 
Vestigipoda sp. trick army ants into taking care of them.
 
I cannot stress how WIERD it is that an *adult* fly is totally immobile & looks like a larvae of another species. (army ants in this case)
 
Under a microscope you can see the fly-like features of Vestigipoda's face. Incredible becoming totally "helpless" is such an effective adaptation. I really want to know what the entire life cycle is like. How do they mate? What are they like when they are maggots? Are they disappointed to be a maggot and pupate only to still be a helpless larvae?
 
F3ElXcb.png
(Close up of the adult phorid fly, which looks like a larvae. A thought bubble says "Damn… I guess this is as good as it gets.")
 
Source for images.


Where can I find them? I want to “brood boost” a host colony :
  • futurebird likes this
Check out my Camponotus socius journal!
https://www.formicul...socius-journal/
Check out my Florida Carpenter Ant journal!(Camponotus floridanus, and Camponotus tortoganus)
https://www.formicul...naltwo-species/
Check out my Odontomachus ruginodis(Trap-Jaw ants) journal!
https://www.formicul...urnal/?p=215735
Check out my Trachymyrmex septrionalis(Fungus farmers) journal!
https://www.formicul...onalis-journal/

#3 Offline futurebird - Posted July 27 2022 - 11:19 AM

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Oh my link is broken!
https://www.agoravox...ni-pattes-82204

They only seem to be found with Aenictus army ants. And really since so little is known about them I think biologists would love it if someone had one in captivity... they don't know how they reproduce, or what the male is like... how or where they lay eggs, what the larva is like. All they know is the strange legless adult form... that looks like an ant larva. These creatures are blowing my mind!


  • smares likes this

Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#4 Offline FloridaAnts - Posted July 27 2022 - 12:05 PM

FloridaAnts

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Oh my link is broken!https://www.agoravox...ni-pattes-82204
They only seem to be found with Aenictus army ants. And really since so little is known about them I think biologists would love it if someone had one in captivity... they don't know how they reproduce, or what the male is like... how or where they lay eggs, what the larva is like. All they know is the strange legless adult form... that looks like an ant larva. These creatures are blowing my mind!


If only I lived near some… I doubt I could keep them longer than a few months, but it would be interesting
Check out my Camponotus socius journal!
https://www.formicul...socius-journal/
Check out my Florida Carpenter Ant journal!(Camponotus floridanus, and Camponotus tortoganus)
https://www.formicul...naltwo-species/
Check out my Odontomachus ruginodis(Trap-Jaw ants) journal!
https://www.formicul...urnal/?p=215735
Check out my Trachymyrmex septrionalis(Fungus farmers) journal!
https://www.formicul...onalis-journal/





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: phorid fly, myrmecophile, parasite, ant guest, ant guests, army ants

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