"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

July 17, 2010

July 17 - Lipoptena cervi

Lipoptena cervi is the deer ked or deer fly, a blood-feeding hippoboscid fly that is native to Europe and Asia, but has been introduced into the U.S. where it feeds on white-tailed deer and elk. Female flies only produce one larva at a time, but nurse it from milk glands within until it is ready to pupate. When the adult fly emerges, it seeks out a new host and takes up residence. It even goes so far as to lose its wings once it has its new mammalian permanent address. L. cervi is fairly specific to deer, but will occasionally bite dogs or humans - and it's said to be a painful bite when it does.


  1. It's "said" quite loudly. I can confirm.

  2. I can confirm that too. But one usually gets renvenge on the slow bastard.

  3. Found one on me after a walk in the Swedish forests of Småland 5th October. It had lost one of its wings and when I picked it off my sweater it scurried off sideways looking for a place to bite. (It lowered its head several times as if ready but I didn't taste right, presumeably). A friend on the same walk had one in his hair for most of the excursion and wondered what the sensation was. Blimey, these flies are ugly little beggars!!!