Pseudolynchia canariensis

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Pseudolynchia canariensis
Fly June 2008-2.jpg
Scientific classification
P. canariensis
Binomial name
Pseudolynchia canariensis
(Macquart, 1839)

Pseudolynchia canariensis, the pigeon louse fly or pigeon fly, is a species of biting fly in the family of louse flies, Hippoboscidae.[1]


They are found in most parts of the (sub-)tropical world where domestic pigeons are kept, and are obligate ectoparasites on all Rock Pigeons (also known as Feral Pigeons). Known from wild hosts in Continental Africa, Mediterranean Sub-region, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands, The Philippines, Malaya, and Indonesia, as well as North America and South America in warmer latitudes.[2]


The only wild hosts are Pigeons and Doves (Columbidae). In domestic settings they have been recorded from 33 genera, 13 families, 8 orders of birds.[2]

Disease vector[edit]

P. canariensis is the definitive host (sexual reproduction takes place in the insect vector) for the protozoan Haemoproteus columbae or pigeon malaria and transmits this parasite to Columbiformes. This parasite can be fatal to young Rock Pigeons in extremely infected birds.[3] However, more often, Haemoproteus columbae is quite benign and an experimental study found no difference in experimentally infected birds and those in the surrounding population when followed from nestlings through young adults and monitored for survival.[4] The global distribution of Haemoproteus columbae described in Rock Pigeons may provide evidence for the wide range of Pseudolynchia canariensis.

Ischnoceran lice are often found on several hippoboscid flies. This is a phoretic association, meaning the lice catch a ride on the flies to move between bird hosts, and the lice do not feed on the flies.[5]

Pigeon flies themselves are commonly infested with a mite Myialges anchora.


  1. ^ Dick, C. W. (2006). "Checklist of World Hippoboscidae (Diptera: Hippoboscoidea)". Chicago: Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History: 1–7pp. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b Maa, T. C. (1969). "A Revised Checklist and Concise Host Index of Hippoboscidae (Diptera)". Pacific Insects Monograph. Honolulu: Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. 20: 261–299pp.
  3. ^ Oosthuizen, J. H.; Markus, Miles B. (1972-01-01). "Pathogenicity of Haemoproteus columbae". Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 66 (1): 186–187. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(72)90072-7. ISSN 0035-9203. PMID 4625895.
  4. ^ Knutie, Sarah A.; Waite, Jessica L.; Clayton, Dale H. (2013-01-01). "Does avian malaria reduce fledging success: an experimental test of the selection hypothesis". Evolutionary Ecology. 27 (1): 185–191. doi:10.1007/s10682-012-9578-y. ISSN 1573-8477.
  5. ^ Harbison, Christopher W.; Jacobsen, Matthew V.; Clayton, Dale H. (2009-04-01). "A hitchhiker's guide to parasite transmission: The phoretic behaviour of feather lice". International Journal for Parasitology. 39 (5): 569–575. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2008.09.014. ISSN 0020-7519. PMID 19038259.