Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Terribly Hairy Fly" of Kenya: "Like a Spider With Hairy Legs"

"Africa's 'terrible hairy fly' found in Kenya"
Science, Reuters (December 8, 2010)

"Scientists in Kenya have located one of the world's rarest and oddest-looking flies after a long hunt for an insect dubbed the "terrible hairy fly," experts said on Wednesday.

"Scientists first stumbled across the yellow-haired fly in 1933 and then again in 1948. Since then, at least half a dozen expeditions have visited a site between the towns of Thika and Garissa to find it again.

"At about one centimeter long and so far found on a single 20-meter high rock, the Mormotomyia hirsuta looks more like a spider with its hairy legs, scientists said....

The critter can't fly, has tiny eyes, and probably lives only in a bat-infested recess of that rock in the Ukazi Hills. Someone speculates that it might use its long legs to hitch a ride on a passing bat - but nobody's seen that happen.

Odds are that this thing is the only fly that's found only in Africa.

Somehow, the Lemming suspects that it won't get featured on travel posters. That's one ugly fly.

It's interesting, though - to folks who study flies. One question is how this little critter developed. And that's another topic.

Reuters posted a photo of Kenya's unique - thing.

(from Reuters/International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology/Handout, used w/o permission)

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