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Upcoming Events

Information about the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


Family Hippoboscidae - Louse Flies

Icosta louse fly on Owl  - Icosta Odd fly - Icosta Louse Fly - Icosta Flat fly Lipoptena cervi  - Lipoptena cervi Diptera sp. - Lipoptena depressa fly louse fly
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Calyptratae)
Superfamily Hippoboscoidea
Family Hippoboscidae (Louse Flies)
Other Common Names
Louse Flies, Bird Ticks, Tick Flies (Note: these flies are *not* ticks.)
Explanation of Names
Hippoboscidae Samouelle 1819
from Hippobosca Linnaeus 1758 ('feeding on horses')
28 spp. in 12 genera in our area(1), >780 spp. in ~70 genera total(2)
This group includes wingless and winged forms. Most winged ones are dark brownish and smaller than house flies. Flat shape and leathery appearance.
blood of birds/mammals; host records in(3)
Life Cycle
Females rear one offspring at a time, the larva feeding in utero from special "milk" glands. The mature larva is "born alive" and immediately pupates in the soil (or on the host in some cases). Most are host specific on bird species, with a few occurring on mammals.(4)
Print References
Bequaert J. (1942) A monograph of the Melophaginae, or ked-flies, of sheep, goats, deer and antelopes (Diptera, Hippoboscidae). Entomologica Americana, 22: 1-220.
Bequaert J.C. (1957) The Hippoboscidae or louse-flies (Diptera) of mammals and birds. Part II. Taxonomy, evolution and revision of American genera and species. Entomologica Americana, 36: 417–611.
Dick C.W. (2006) Checklist of World Hippoboscidae (Diptera: Hippoboscoidea). Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. 7 pp.
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Order Diptera Linnaeus, 1758. In: Zhang Z.-Q. (ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification...
Pape T., Blagoderov V., Mostovski M.B. 2011. Zootaxa 3148: 222–229.
3.A revised Checklist and Concise Host Index of Hippoboscidae (Diptera).
Maa, T.C. 1969. Pacific Insects Monograph 20: 261-299.
4.Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
Eric Eaton, Kenn Kaufman. 2006. Houghton Mifflin.