Phorid Fly

Did you know that some species of Phorid Flies, can decapitate ants from the inside? Once pregnant these flies locate ants and attack them from the air.

They use a syringe like ovipositor to inject an egg into their thorax. Once the egg hatches inside the ant the larva starts to eat the ants organs and tissues.

It moves into it’s head and eats its entire brain. This doesn’t kill the ant but it does make it wander around mindlessly for about two weeks. Once the larva reaches the right stage of development it releases an enzyme that dissolved the membrane attaching the ant’s head to it’s body.

The head falls off and the fly uses it as a cocoon to finish it’s development. Once it’s grown into the adult form it emerges from the ants head through its mouth. South American species have been introduced into the southeastern US in an effort to control the spread of invasive South American fire ants.

They do not parasitize the native North American species only the fire ants.


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