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What Do You Call a Fly That Can't Fly?

Illustration for article titled What Do You Call a Fly That Cant Fly?

It looks terrible. It's hairy. And it can't fly. It's the terrible hairy fly, or to give it its scientific name, Mormotomyia hirsuta. The 1cm-long insect, which breeds in bat faeces, has small eyes, long legs and tiny useless wings.


Entomologists Robert Copeland and Ashley Kirk-Spriggs both on an International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology expedition, found the fly in its only known habitat, a cave-like rock cleft in Ukazi Hill east of Nairobi. "The fly has no obvious adaptations for clinging onto other animals for transfer from one place to another," Copeland told Reuters. "With its long legs, it could perhaps wrap itself around a bat and get a ride... but it's never been found elsewhere."
"Since Mormotomyia cannot fly, there is a strong possibility that it is really restricted to this tiny habitat," he continued. "If that is the case, it would be wonderful if the entire Ukazi Hill, on which it is found, were declared a national heritage area and given suitable conservation protection."

Ernest Edward Austen, who described the species in 1936, wrote it had "somewhat the appearance of a spider". [New Scientist]

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