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Phorid flies that decapitate ants!





Ankhanu
While cruising Facebook today I came across an update in a group associated with the Entomological Society of Canada concerning some observations that had just been published on some interesting fly biology - Fly Obsession - A new type of ant-decapitation in phorid flies! Essentially, a small species complex of flies thought to have been scavengers has been found exhibiting some interesting behaviour in which females decapitated injured ants of a small suite of species (A couple species of Odontomachus, subfamily Ponerinae). Other phorids decapitate ants, but use different mechanisms, and the ants tend to be dead. These flies have extra long mouth parts with a cutting organ at the tip that they use to sever the integumentation and such, remove the head and haul it away to consume... likely to source the nutrients needed to produce/mature eggs.

It's a fascinating little bit of primary research that helps shed some light on how closely related species develop highly specialized niches in order to coexist in the hyper-diversity in tropical regions.

The actual article itself (with video figures embedded and a link to a free pdf download) is free here: Brown, B.V., Kung, G.-A. and Porras, W. 2015. A new type of ant-decapitation in the Phrodae (Insecta: Diptera). Biodiversity Data Journal 3: e4299
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