Streblidae - Trichobius major
Size: 2.82 mm
Group Guild Status
Trogloxene Parasite Uncommon
Bat flies are obligate blood-feeding ectoparasites. T. major (Photo 1) is an ectoparasite of several species of bats, primarily species of Myotis, and is commonly recorded on the cave myotis (Myotis velifer) (Bradshaw and Ross 1961; Jameson 1959). The few occurrences on other species of bats are thought to be due to these species roosting in association with Myotis spp. (Wenzel and Peterson 1987; Ubelaker, 1966). The larvae pupate on the walls and ceilings of roost sites (Wenzel and Peterson 1987). The discovery of an extinct bat fly belonging to this family was recently recovered from Dominican amber. The specimen contained bat malaria oocysts and sporozoites, confirming the presence of malaria in bats as far back as the mid-tertiary. This was the first record of apparent malarial transmission to bats from flies in this family (Poinar 2011).
There are two records of this species occurring in the cave, both in proximity to the bat roosts. One was sampled on September 20, 2004, and the other on October 7, 2006; both by KCSP personnel. This species was not observed during either the initial or recent studies. The species is likely more common than observations would indicate. The flies may stay close to the roost areas, which are high above the floor of the cave. The flies are probably primarily present only during the period the bats are in residence, and travel with the bats to their winter hibernaculum. These parasites are good fliers, and those that get groomed off of bats can quickly return to the colony.
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