Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Deer louse fly adult (Lipoptena depressa). The louse flies (Hippoboscidae) are obligate blood-feeding ectoparasites of birds and mammals. Both adult males and females feed on the blood of their host. They are adapted for clinging to and moving through the plumage and pelage of their hosts. Strongly specialized claws help them cling to the hair or feathers of their particular host species. Lipoptena depressa occurs on deer in the Western United States. Deer keds have unusual reproductive life cycle. The female produces one larva at a time and retains the developing larva in her body until it is ready to pupate. The larva feeds on the secretions of a milk gland in the uterus of its mother. Pupae fall to ground, hatch and the juveniles fly off to locate deer. Deer keds have wings when they emerge from their puparium, but lose them once they find a host (preferably deer). Magnification: x7 when shortest axis.
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