|A drawing of male specimen|
The family Mormotomyiidae (Diptera: Ephydroidea) contains only one known species, Mormotomyia hirsuta, commonly known as the frightful hairy fly, which is found in Kenya. The fly was first described by English entomologist Ernest Edward Austen, and specimens have been collected from one location on a mountain in the Ukasi Hill (Okazzi Hills), in a cleft where a bat roost is located; this may possibly be the most restricted geographic distribution for any fly family. The larvae have been collected from bat guano. Adult flies are believed to feed on bodily secretions of bats. The fly measures about 1 cm long, with hairy legs, and, due to its nonfunctional wings and tiny eyes, looks more like a spider than a fly. Specimens have been collected only three times, in 1933, 1948, and 2010. Tested members of the population showed higher levels of genetic variation than would be expected for such a restricted range, suggesting additional undiscovered populations exist and gene flow occurs between them and the known population in Ukasi Hill.
- Kirk-Spriggs, A.H., Kotrba, M. & Copeland, R.S. 2011. Further details of the morphology of the enigmatic African fly Mormotomyia hirsuta Austen (Diptera: Mormotomyiidae). African Invertebrates 52 (1): 145-165.
- Austen, E.E. 1936. A remarkable semi-apterous fly (Diptera) found in a cave in East Africa, and representing a new family, genus, and species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1936): 425–431.
- "Bizarre hairy fly is rediscovered". BBC News. 8 December 2010.
- "World's rarest fly rediscovered". National Museum. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- Copeland, R.S., Kirk-Spriggs, A.H., Muteti, S., Booth, W. & Wiegmann, B.M. 2011. Rediscovery of the "terrible hairy fly", Mormotomyia hirsuta Austen (Diptera: Mormotomyiidae), in eastern Kenya, with notes on biology, natural history, and genetic variation of the Ukasi Hill population. African Invertebrates 52 (2): 363-390.
Data related to Mormotomyiidae at Wikispecies
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