(order Diptera, suborder Cyclorrapha)
Family of aberrant flies which lack wings and are usually flattened dorsoventrally. The head is sunk into a groove in the thorax, and the mouth-parts are directed forwards, as a proboscis adapted for piercing. The antennae are inserted into a depression, and the eyes are round or oval. The adults are ‘tough-skinned’, an adaptation to life as ectoparasites of large mammals or birds. Larvae are produced by the females in a mature state, and they pupate almost immediately. Some, e.g. Lepoptena species, are winged as a means of dispersal, but cast their wings once a suitable host is found. More than 200 species are known so far.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.