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trying to identify the insects on the copperhead - Micropygomyia vexator

trying to identify the insects on the copperhead - Micropygomyia vexator
western maryland County, Maryland, USA
August 8, 2014
I photographed this wild copperhead yesterday on teh top of a mountain in western Maryland and noticed these small bugs once I was editing my photographs. I am curious what they are, if they are a parasite to the snake etc. The snake was sunning itself in a large rockpile on the side of the mountain. Thanks for any help


Wow!! Great find! These are
Wow!! Great find! These are definitely Psychodidae, subfamily Phlebotominae. It looks like there are several females feeding, a male just hanging around (bottom right) and even a mating pair on top of the head! This behavior has been recorded for a number of phlebotomines, as well as for some species of Sycoracinae (a subfmaily with species that bite frogs and is not known to occur in North America).
Micropygomyia vexator (= Lutzomyia vexator) is likely the species because it is the only species of this group known to occur in the eastern Nearctic that exclusively bites non-avian reptiles. The species has been collected as far north as Canada. When I was living and collecting in east Tennessee, I found this species to be common in CDC trap samples, but never had the opportunity to see it in action.

thanks Gregory R. Curler appr
thanks Gregory R. Curler appreciate the information

Moved from Flies.

Maybe one of the blood feeding Psychodidae. Quoting Manual of Nearctic Diptera discussing Phlebotominae: "The blood-sucking adults (sand flies) are usually associated with reptiles or small burrowing mammals in North America."

Moved from ID Request.

a parasite like ticks or mites. Could be a blood feeding diptera (biting midges?). Or just opportunists finding a safe place to congregate in the sun.

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