Parasitic fly from the Phoridae family

Probably for similar reasons, ants' nests, and termites' nests, are home to a horde of wingless hangers-on of many different types, feeding on the rich pickings swept in by the ever-rustling streams of returning foragers. And wings are just as much of a hindrance to them as they are to the ants themselves. Who would ever believe that the monstrosity on the right is a fly? Yet we know from a careful and detailed study of its anatomy that not only is it a fly, this parasite of termite nests belongs to a particular family of flies, the Phoridae. On the next page is a more normal member of the same family, which presumably somewhat resembles the winged ancestors of the weirdly wingless creature above, although it too is a parasite of social insects - bees in this case. You can see the similarity to the sickle-shaped head of the weird monster on the previous page. And the monster's stunted wings are just visible as the tiny triangles on either side.

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