Globe and Mail, Sat. November 11 1995.

"Fly Infiltrates Ant World"

British and German researchers have discovered a chameleon-like fly that disguises itself as an ant larva so it can live unnoticed as a parasite in ant colonies. Reporting thier find in the journal Nature, they say the adult female of the species Phoridae has no wings or legs and has an elongated abdomen, so that it looks like an ant larva.The scientists believe that extreme alterations in form enable the female flies to mimic the complex nest-mate recognition clues of thier host, allowing them to live unmolested in the colony and perhaps even solicit food succesfully from workers tending ant larva. The fly, discovered in a Malaysian rain forest, belongs to a family of rather macabre parasite flies, including one that reproduces on corpses in coffins and another called the ant-decapitating fly. The eggs of this species are laid in worker ants, and the larva later develops in the ant's head, which eventually falls off.


Commentary: Ahhhhhhhhh, don't you just love parasites?