False-col SEM of Braula, a parasitic wingless fly

False-col SEM of Braula, a parasitic wingless fly

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Credit: DR BRAD AMOS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: False-colour scanning electron micrograph of the parasitic wingless fly or "bee louse", Braula coeca, riding on the back of a honeybee, Apis mellifera. The tiny fly (length 1-1.5mm) has lost the use of its wings, & its balancing organs or halteres. Instead it relies on its remarkable claws, like inwardly curving hair combs, which it slides into the bee's fur to secure its position. The adult Braula is found primarily on the queen bee, & feeds directly from the bee's mouthparts. The larvae feed on the pollen-containing wax of the honeycomb, particularly the wax covering the honey cells. Magnification: x35 at 35mm size.

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Keywords: animal, bee, bee louse, braula coeca, fly, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, wildlife, zoology

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