A bat-fly with high level of social behaviour
The wingless bat-fly, Mystacinobia zelandica, lives in large communities in roosts of the short-tailed bat, and requires temperatures of around 30° for development and survival (much higher temperatures than those outside the roost).
- Adults and larvae feed on bat guano.
- Dispersal of bat-flies to other bat colonies depends on transport by the bats: as many as 10 bat-flies may be found in the fur of 1 bat when it leaves its roost to feed at night.
- The bat-fly has a level of social behaviour unknown in any other fly (Diptera) in the world, including:
- parents live side by side with their progeny;
- mutual grooming between adults and larvae;
- males have an extended life-span to produce a sound-producing guard (soldier) caste.