World’s Smallest Fly May Also Be World’s Smallest Decapitator
A new species of fly was recently discovered in Thailand and now holds the title of the world’s smallest fly. Entomologists suggest that this fly might also hold the title of the world’s smallest decapitator. Ants the world over, beware! Euryplatea nanaknihali will hunt you, find you, and mount your head over its fireplace.
The Entomological Society of America recently published an article in their publication, The Annals of the Entomological Society of America, describing a new species under the order Diptera (the same kind of flies that eat your bananas and you kill with a swatter). You can read the entire article free of charge here; but I will warn you, it will make you think that a brush from your cat’s tail is a decapitating Diptera crawling up your leg.
How does this little thing lop the heads off ants? Is there a broadsword in there somewhere? Nope, sorry. The way it decapitates its prey is way more disgusting than that. Euryplatea nanaknihali takes the heads of ants by laying eggs in their skin. The eggs then hatch and the larvae feed inside the heads of the ants eventually leading to the heads to pop off like some ant-larvae-greymatter zit. Hope you weren’t eating lunch while reading this!
While this phenomenon has never been directly observed, the newly-discovered flies are very closely related to Phorid flies which are known to exhibit this behavior. Some of these species are even used to control fire ant populations in the Southern U.S.. There are flies like this right here in America and may even be in your own backyard. Ain’t that just great to know?