Parasitoid Flies Attack Ant Babies

As our regular readers understand, ants should be highly appreciated. However, there are some animals in nature that have not yet learned this valuable lesson. In a recent paper published in Biodiversity Data Journal, Dr. Brian Brown and colleagues highlight one such unenlightened group of critters: phorid flies.

A phorid fly looking to lay her egg inside a fire ant. Photo: Alex Wild

Phorid flies are a group of parasitoid insects that often specialize in laying their eggs inside the bodies of ants. Usually, these flies target adult ants (e.g. laying an egg in the thorax, which then migrates to the head capsule). But Brown and colleagues captured cool footage of one phorid fly species, Ceratoconus setipennis, parasitizing the brood (i.e. the babies) of these ants. RUDE!

See the footage from their publication, below:

Fly trying to make adult ants drop ant babies:
Fly rudely attacking ant babies: