Assassin fly babies have Swiss army knife mouths

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Assassin fly babies have ‘Swiss army knife’ mouths Xuankun Li By Joshua Rapp LearnDec. 7, 2018 , 11:10 AM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Australia’s splendid assassin fly (Blepharotes splendidissimus) earns its fearsome moniker. About the size of a bottle cap and sporting a similar metallic luster, they ambush butterflies and dragonflies in midair, killing them with a venomous bite. Now, scientists have discovered that even the larvae of these flies are vicious.The mouths of these maggots are “the insect equivalent of a Swiss army knife,” researchers report in Austral Entomology. Using scanning electron microscopy to produce photos like the one above, the team discovered blade-shaped mandible hooks with backward-pointing teeth—all the better to pierce into soft-bodied bugs in the soil where these larvae live. These hooks also have grooves that, when pushed together, form a tube the maggots use to inject venomous saliva into their prey. The venom injector tool doubles as a straw, allowing the larvae to suck out the body parts of their victims, the authors report.The researchers also found that once the larvae pupate, usually underground or inside wood, the pupa adopts spurs and spines ultimately used by the emerging adult to drill through to the surface of soil or rotting timber so it can take to the skies. As horrendous as they may be to bugs, the authors say assassin flies and their larvae, which have thousands of different species worldwide, can actually help farmers as they control populations of plant-feeding insect pests such as caterpillars and beetle larvae. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more