At the end of summer, an annoying elk fly appears in the forests of Siberia and the central part of Russia (an insect photo is presented in this article). In addition to the territory of our country, it still lives in the north of China, in North America and Scandinavia. The number of parasites directly depends on the number of deer and moose.
The elk fly, elk mite, elk louse, deer bloodsucker are all one and the same insect belonging to the family Hippoboscidae. The three-millimeter body has a flattened shape and is covered with light brown leathery dense covers. On the head in the deep depressions are the antennae, which practically do not protrude above the surface. The elk fly has large eyes consisting of more than 2.5 thousand facets. Her eyes occupy ¼ of the whole body, except for them there are 3 simple eyes on the fly’s head. The oral apparatus of this insect belongs to the piercing-sucking type and has a similar structure to the fly's proboscis, which is called the autumn flout. The deer bloodsucker has dense and transparent wings with a small number of veins, their length ranges from 5.5 to 6 mm. On the sides of the chest are strong legs with thickened thighs and asymmetrical claws. The elk fly is equipped with an elastic abdomen, which, when it is eaten, can increase significantly in size.
This type of insect belongs to circular ectoparasites. In other words, a moose fly feeds only on the blood it takes from warm-blooded animals. Its main owners, the breadwinners include peck-hoofed animals. This is roe deer, deer, red deer and moose. In addition, the bloodsucker successfully uses domestic cattle, wild boars, bears, foxes, dogs, badgers, sheep, and so on. If there is a high number of this parasite, then the bite of a moose fly also threatens a person, and he, it should be noted, is rather painful. At the site of the bite, the skin turns red, a dense nodule appears, which can last up to 20 days.
Why is it called elk louse or mite? Despite the presence of well-developed wings, these insects fly rather poorly and for short distances. Wings they, in fact, need to fly to the smell of a warm-blooded animal. And as soon as they reach their goal, they are immediately dropped. Their whole future life already takes place on the body of the host-breadwinner. They burrow into his fur, bite through his skin and begin to feed on blood. Hence the comparison with the usual louse and mite.
After a couple of weeks of undisturbed life, the bloodsucker begins puberty, they begin to stick in pairs: the female with the male. After fertilization, after 16 days, the female gives birth to the first larva. Notice, it gives birth, since this type of insect belongs to viviparous, or rather, puppet-bearing. In the female, an egg first develops in the body, then a larva. Three millimeter shaped prepupae are already emerging. After a few hours, they turn into a paparium (puparium), become covered with a hard shell and fall to the ground. This usually happens from October to March. In this state, the pupae will stay until August, and then new winged elk flies appear. The female for her life (about six months) has time to postpone up to 30 such puparia.
These parasites are of great concern to animals, since they can inhabit hundreds of them on one individual. And this leads to the depletion of the animal, in young animals may be stunted. Unfortunately, effective repellents against this insect were not found. To protect yourself from his bites, you need to take care of your clothes when hiking in the woods. Cuffs on the sleeves should fit snugly to the body, pants should be tucked into socks, and a headdress should be worn on the head. After the walk, carefully inspect your clothes and remove the pests hidden in them.