|Image: Gilles San Martin|
If it's a Wingless Bat Fly, they'll get a little help from a friend.
Did I say "friend"? I meant victim.
|Image: Jakob Fahr|
They're proper flies, which means they belong to the order Diptera alongside house flies, bluebottles and mosquitoes. However, at the same time they're not proper flies at all. They belong to a group called Hippoboscidae, the louse flies, and they're among the lousiest of them all!
Wingless Bat Flies are flattened and lack eyes and wings. Adults spend all their time clinging to the fur of bats, drinking blood, looking horrible and being grotesque. As if bats, of all things, needed a touch of the macabre!
Female Bat Flies, like other louse flies, don't lay eggs. Instead they drop off their host, find somewhere safe nearby and give birth to a larva who immediately pupates. So at least the poor bat isn't crawling with maggots! Thank parasites for small mercies.