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The Kid Should See This

Bat Fly! Up-close with this wingless fly

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“This is, hands down, the weirdest insect I’ve ever filmed,” Dr. Adrian Smith explains in this Ant Lab video. “Believe it or not, this thing is a fly.” bat fly

“…like, a fly as in an insect in the same group as your standard house fly or fruit fly.

“But this fly doesn’t have wings and it barely even has a recognizable head. The weirdest thing about it is where it lives and where I found it: I collected it off a bat. It’s an ectoparasite of bats, commonly called a bat fly.”


How do you catch a bat to catch a bat fly? Where is a bat fly’s head? And what are halteres?

Join Smith and his North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences colleague, Mammalogy Collections Manager Lisa Gatens, as they catch bats on a forest pathway at night. There, Gatens can assess, tag, and release the bats for research, and Smith can collect this wingless bat-dweller.

processing the bat before letting it go again
Then see Smith’s incredible macro footage of a super speedy bat fly, filmed at 600 frames per second. (That’s around 20 times slower than reality.) He notes:

“The bat fly in this video was collected off of a Southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius) bat and is likely the bat fly species Basilia boardmani within the Nycteribiidae family of flies (will update if I get a confirmed species ID).”

bat fly
Watch these fly and bat videos next:
β€’ 15 species of flies take off in slow-motion
β€’ How volunteers hand-raised an orphaned short-tailed fruit bat
β€’ Filming bats with slow motion and thermal cameras
β€’Β How can glowing poop help bat conservation?
β€’Β The Tube-Lipped Nectar Bat has a very long tongue


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