The order Diptera -- you know them as flies -- is estimated to contain at least a million unique species. And it's a good thing they have strength in numbers, because that's the only strength they've got. Eating poop until some larger creature swats, eats, or viciously shoos you to death -- that's the life of a fly. Except, that is, for the following species, which have evolved to straight mess up any poor sucker that comes at them with a newspaper.
What do toads eat? Flies, right? Lucilia bufonivora (Buffy for short) doesn't like that stereotype. Related to the common, harmless green bottle fly, Buffy's preferred brooding spot is like the twist ending of an amphibian Twilight Zone: It lays its eggs inside the head of a live toad.
It all starts when Buffy lays her eggs in the nostrils, where they soon hatch and make the toad look like the "after" picture of a coke fiend in an anti-drug PSA.
Except drugs only make you think you've got bugs crawling inside you.
The larvae then move on to the backs of its eyeballs and its soft, succulent brain, hollowing out the toad's entire head by the time it finally, agonizingly dies. We know what you're thinking: "Right, but where's the photo of that?" Well, since you insisted:
And Slippy never bothered the Star Fox team with his incessant whining ever again.
It's a grisly, graphic process, but you have to admire the sheer ballsiness it takes to fly straight into the face of your own natural killer and then stuff your genitals into it and make its skull raise your babies. But it is the safest, most secretive nursery a fly could hope for. It's the insect equivalent of strapping your baby onto the back of a ravenous tiger. And then your baby eats the tiger's face.
Acroceridae, or "small-headed flies," might be some of the cutest insects you'll see all day. They don't bite, they don't sting, and they only drink flower nectar. But if there's one thing we've learned from dolphins, koalas, and My Little Pony fan art, it's that adorableness often conceals dark, twisted affronts to nature. Small-headed flies are no exception. Here's what they do to tarantulas:
Department of Entomological Sciences, University of California
"Small-headed my ass."
You see, small-headed fly larvae are remarkably mobile, as far as maggots go. They can scurry, they can jump, and from the moment they hatch, they're on the hunt for a spider. Once they find a suitably gargantuan one, they locate a weakness in its exoskeleton -- say, a leg joint -- and slip inside its body. Once there, they'll spend up to 10 goddamned years gradually devouring the spider from the inside. We never thought we'd feel bad for a spider, but a solid decade of being eaten alive is a bit much.
Philornis downsi is a fly species that lays its eggs in the nests of birds, which at first glance would appear to be what scientists call "rock-fuck stupid." But, obviously, by its inclusion in this article, you know downsi has something awful in store for that bird. While the birds are awake, the maggots hide deep inside the nest, out of sight and out of reach. Come nightfall, however, they emerge to devour the blood and even flesh of the blind, helpless chicks.
Jody O'Connor/Flinders University
It's still more dignified than being turned into a McNugget.
The flies are so ravenous, in fact, that they're threatening Darwin's famous finches of the Galapagos Islands with complete annihilation. The flies were accidentally introduced to the islands in the 1990s, and they've been chowing down on baby finches at an alarming rate ever since. Luckily, conservationists are battling the invasive species with methods ranging from lining finches' nests with insecticide-soaked cotton to ... introducing fly-parasitizing wasps. This is not going to end well. Nobody, in history, has ever said, "Boy, I sure am glad these parasitic wasps are here!"
Jody O'Connor/Flinders University
No matter who wins, fuck everything.
The Nycteribiidae and Streblidae are families of flies that have adapted to feed entirely on the blood of bats -- including, perhaps fittingly, vampire bats -- and spend their whole lives clinging to their host's body. You know, like a louse, if a louse could grow to nearly the size of your motherfucking face. Imagine having to go about your daily life while being perpetually gnawed upon by a lobster, and you've got a pretty good idea of what it's like to be a bat with a bat fly infestation:
The Field Museum
If The Joker could figure out how to control an army of these things,
he could rule Gotham tonight.
Since they already live on their very own 24-hour flying buffets, many bat flies have evolved into hairy misnomers: They don't even bother with wings of their own, instead relying on their long, thorny legs to maintain their grip. Though that seems to be a relatively recent development, cosmically speaking: Scientists recently discovered the 20-million-year-old fossil of a fully winged bat-biter, neatly entombed in amber. How long until some crazy bastard goes Jurassic Park on that sucker and parasitic flies become the hit new fashion accessory?
George Poinar/Oregon State University
#nomakeup #nofilter #noblood
Nah, that's impossible. None of these things prey on humans. Can you imagine? Some horrible fly hatching maggots in your eyeball. Thank Christ that could never happen ...
This little mind-ruiner is the sheep nose bot fly, which as its name implies usually lays its eggs in the nostrils of sheep. Being a fly, however, it doesn't exactly have a tremendous sense of direction, and as such it occasionally lands ass-first in some poor bastard's eye hole.
The resulting infection is known as ophthalmomyiasis, which is pronounced "God is a bastard." Thankfully, the baby bot flies don't go after tissue, instead being content to writhe around in your ocular orbit, drinking your eye juice. Drinking. And writhing.
And now that you won't be blinking ever again, allow us to point your ever-staring eyeballs to the Congo floor maggot:
Amedeo John Engel Terzi
And now stare at your floor. Forever. In case they come.
Resembling the unholy love child of a bedbug and a leech, the Congo floor maggot thrives in the dirt floors of huts in sub-Saharan Africa. By day, the larvae bury themselves, and by night, they emerge and use their minuscule fangs to latch onto the hut's inhabitants and guzzle blood like ticks. Luckily, they're found only in areas where dirt floors and sleeping mats are common, and they can be easily thwarted by a little invention known as the bedpost.
We also feel it's important to note that once a Congo floor maggot outgrows its bloodsucking phase, its primary diet shifts from human blood to ... human poo. So take comfort in the fact that, no matter how horrific they are in life, it's still a fly's inescapable destiny to eat shit and die.
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