How could I have missed the website flyobsession? It’s run by Brian V. Brown, who’s the Curator of Entomology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and his site is full of weird and interesting flies.
I’ve posted before on phorids—flies in the family Phoridae that are often wingless, with many so bizarre that they don’t resemble flies at all (take a look at my preceding link to see a mimetic adult phorid that looks like an ant larva). Here’s a phorid that Brown just posted on flyobsession (reproduced with his permission). It’s white, wingless, and sports a bunch of huge bristles on its back. What could they be for? Matthew Cobb, who passed this on to me, supposes that the fly may be parasitic, and the bristles used to adhere to a large host. Who knows? The small eyes and lack of coloration suggests that it lives in a dark habitat—perhaps on the fur of a mammal.
Brown’s notes on this:
. . . I am posting this photo of an extremely bizarre specimen we found just this week in material from Thailand. I think it is a female of the genus Rhynchomicropteron, but if so, it is an extremely unusual one! Thanks to Lisa Gonzalez for pointing it out to me, and Inna-Marie Strazhnik for photographing it. Maybe it can be number 16 in Terry Wheeler’s posts about why flies are great.