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11/27/2014 1:26:54 AM

World's smallest Fly discovered in Thailand, smaller than grain of Salt, beheads Ants to use head as home

A new fly discovered in Thailand is the world's smallest.
It is five times smaller than a fruit fly and tinier than a grain of salt (0.4 millimeters) in length — half the size of the smallest "no see-ums."

It probably also feeds on tiny ants, likely decapitating them and using their head casings as its home.

"It's so small you can barely see it with the naked eye on a microscope slide. It's smaller than a flake of pepper," said Brian Brown, of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who identified the fly as a new species. "The housefly looks like a Godzilla fly beside it."

The type specimen, a female, was picked up by the Thailand Inventory Group for Entomological Research in Kaeng Krachan National Park. The fly is the first of its kind discovered in Asia.

It has smoky gray wings and the female they discovered has an egg-depositing organ that is pointed to make it easy to lay eggs inside another insect, as a parasitic fly would.

The flies lay their eggs in the body of the ant; the eggs develop and migrate to the ant's head where they feed on the huge muscles used to open and close the ant's mouthparts.

ant fly

fly
Compared to a house Fly

World's smallest Fly discovered in Thailand, smaller than grain of Salt, beheads Ants to use head as homeWorld's smallest Fly discovered in Thailand, smaller than grain of Salt, beheads Ants to use head as home

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