Saturday, July 16, 2011

Terrible Hairy Fly

Hairy Fly- AFP- BBC
You want rare?  How about the wingless Terrible Hairy Fly, Mormotomyia hirsutaThis wasn't written by our Buck Keagy but it could have been.  It had been found only twice,  in 1933 and in 1948.  It is found only on a single 20 meter high rock in Kenya, in a cleft with a bat roost.  In the words of Dave Barry, "...and I am not making this up."  It is a story worthy of Buck Keagy.

It has small non-functional wings and tiny eyes.  Its long hairy legs give it the appearance of a spider.  It breeds in bat guano which is also where the larva have been collected.   Scientists believe the adults live on bat secretions.

A BBC report on a 2010 expedition that found the fly again and collected it for study.  They hope that DNA studies will tell more about its evolutionary history.

Unable to fly, its only means of dispersal would be to cling to a bat that moved to another location.  They feel that this rock may house the only specimens.  It is the only member of its new family and is probably the only fly species which is limited to Africa.
Editor's note:
If you have never read any of Buck Keagy's Sigh-n-tific discovery stories, now would be a good time to ..... watch the Weather Channel for a few hours or listen to some talk radio.  If however you insist, you can check out the April 1, 2011 and April 1, 2010 stories. 
Remember- I warned you!


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  3. "the terrible hairy fly" is such a brilliant name!

  4. It is indeed a weird looking insect, like many that exist in nature.