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The flightless Crataerina pallida
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
(unranked): Eremoneura
(unranked): Cyclorrhapha
Section: Schizophora
Subsection: Calyptratae
Superfamily: Hippoboscoidea
Family: Hippoboscidae
Samouelle, 1819

Hypoboscidae (lapsus)

Hippoboscidae, the louse flies or keds, are obligate parasites of mammals and birds. In this family, the winged species can fly at least reasonably well, though others with vestigial or no wings are flightless and highly apomorphic. As usual in their superfamily Hippoboscoidea, most of the larval development takes place within the mother's body, and pupation occurs almost immediately.[2]

The sheep ked, Melophagus ovinus, is a wingless, reddish-brown fly that parasitizes sheep. The Neotropical deer ked, Lipoptena mazamae, is a common ectoparasite of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the southeastern United States. Both winged and wingless forms may be seen. A common winged species is Hippobosca equina, called "the louse fly" among riders. Species in other genera are found on birds; for example, Ornithomya bequaerti has been collected from birds in Alaska. Two species of the Hippoboscidae – Ornithoica (Ornithoica) podargi and Ornithomya fuscipennis are also common parasites of the tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) of Australia.

Pseudolynchia canariensis is commonly found on pigeons and doves, and can serve as the vector of pigeon malaria. Some evidence indicates that other Hippoboscidae can serve as vectors of disease agents to mammals.


In some obsolete taxonomies, the name Hippoboscidae is applied to the group properly known as Pupipara, i.e. the present family plus the bat flies (Nycteribiidae and "Streblidae"). Two of the three traditional subfamilies (Hippoboscinae and Lipopteninae) have been shown to be good monophyletic groups at least by and large. According to cladistic analysis of several DNA sequences, to make the Ornithomyinae monophyletic, their tribe Olfersini deserves to be recognized as a full family, too.[3][4]

See also


  1. ^ Maa, T. C. (1969). "A Revised Checklist and Concise Host Index of Hippoboscidae (Diptera)" (PDF). Pacific Insects Monograph. Honolulu: Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. 20: 261–299. 
  2. ^ Hutson, A.M (1984). Diptera: Keds, flat-flies & bat-flies (Hippoboscidae & Nycteribiidae). Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects. 10 pt 7. Royal Entomological Society of London. p. 84. 
  3. ^ Petersen, Frederik Torp; Meier, Rudolf; Kutty, Sujatha Narayanan; Wiegmann, Brian M. . (October 2007). "The phylogeny and evolution of host choice in the Hippoboscoidea (Diptera) as reconstructed using four molecular markers". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 45 (1): 111–122. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.023. PMID 17583536. 
  4. ^ Dick, C. W. (20 December 2006). "Checklist of World Hippoboscidae (Diptera: Hippoboscoidea)" (PDF). Chicago: Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History. 

External links

  • [Jackson S. Whitman; Nixon Wilson (April–June 1992). "Incidence of Louse-flies (Hippoboscidae) in Some Alaskan Birds" (PDF). North American Bird Bander. 17 (2): 65–8. 
  • Sheep Ked
  • Pigeon Louse Fly
  • Pseudolychia canariensis as Vector of Pigeon Malaria
  • Halos L, Jamal T, Maillard R, et al. (October 2004). "Role of Hippoboscidae flies as potential vectors of Bartonella spp. infecting wild and domestic ruminants". Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70 (10): 6302–5. doi:10.1128/AEM.70.10.6302-6305.2004. PMC 522062Freely accessible. PMID 15466580. 
  • Photograph of A Louse Fly
  • Images from Diptera.info.[1]
  • Images from BugGuide [2]
  • Pseudolychia canariensis, pigeon louse fly on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
  • Lipoptena mazamae, Neotropical deer ked on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
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