World’s Smallest Fly!?
The world’s smallest fly was recently discovered in Thailand. The researcher responsible for the find called the new fly Euryplatea nanaknihali. The fly belongs to a family of 4,000 hump-backed flies called phorid flies. It is five times smaller than a fruit fly and half the size of the smallest “no see-ums.”
“It’s so small you can barely see it with the naked eye on a microscope slide. It’s smaller than a flake of pepper,” claims Brian Brown of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County who identified the fly as a new species. “The housefly looks like a Godzilla fly beside it.” Brown named the fly after Nanak Nihal Weiss, a thirteen-year-old interested in insects who visits the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County with his father.
Probably the most interesting thing about this new species of fly is that it feeds on tiny ants and decapitates them. Once beheaded the flies use the ant head casings as their home. The flies will lay eggs in the body of the ant. When the eggs are developed enough, they migrate to the ant’s head where they feed on the muscles ants use to open and close their mouthparts. Eventually the flies eat the ant’s brain causing it to wander aimlessly for two weeks. The head then falls off after the fly larva dissolve the membrane that keeps it attached.
The fly then takes up residence in the decapitated ant head for another two weeks, before hatching out as a full-grown adult. In this case, researchers think the fly parasitizes tiny acrobat ants, whose heads are about as large as the fly itself and grow to about 0.16 inches (4 millimeters) long. The species was found in a number of national parks in Thailand