A new type of ant-decapitation in phorid flies!

Dohrn longi plateOkay, I literally have been waiting for years to write this story! Now it is published, and you can read about our amazing (at least to me) discovery.

Most phorid flies that decapitate their hosts do so by injecting an egg into the host ant; after hatching from the egg, a larvae feeds in the head, eventually causing the head to fall off, sometimes before the rest of the body stops moving.

In species of the Dohrniphora longirostrata group, however, the female flies are attracted to injured Odontomachus ants, which they decapitate themselves, and haul off the head to feed on its contents or to lay an egg. We have seen this in several countries, and on many occasions, so there is no doubt in my mind that this is a specific behavior to these flies. They are not attracted to injured ants of other types, only Odontomachus.

Here is some video of the action!

(video by Kate Lain)

7 comments on “A new type of ant-decapitation in phorid flies!

  1. Jeff Bjorck says:

    WOW! Great footage, and fascinating! Congrats on the discovery and on your publication!

  2. Erica says:

    Brilliant Stuff! great video

  3. J. Manuel Ayala L. says:

    One thing I could not see clearly,it is how the fly grabs the head of the ant and drag to hide and place the egg

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