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Pigeon Fly

Pseudolynchia canariensis (Macquart, 1839)

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Figure 1: Dorsal(TopLeft) and Ventral ventral(BottomRight) images of the Pigeon fly. Image Credit: Leshon Lee

CAN YOU FIND

To the untrained eye, the pigeon fly may look like any other ordinary fly... However, as you will discover, there is more to this fly than meets the eye!


                         CAN YOU SPOT THE PIGEON FLIES?

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Figure 2: Quiz time! Image credits: Chiu Sein Chiong

ANSWERS WILL BE GIVEN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.

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Figure 2: Video of 3 pigeon flies on a male Pink Necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans). Video Credits: Chiu Sein Chiong


Introduction

Pigeon Fly or Pseudolynchia canariensis (Macquart, 18401839) is a biting fly in the family Hippoboscidae. Like most flies from the family Hippoboscidae, the Pigeon Fly specifically parasitizes on The Pigeon Fly mainly parasitizes birds from the family Columbidae, such as pigeons and doves, thus its common name. However, it has been recorded on other birds. The pigeon fly is remarkable for its life bearing methods, parasitism, and phoresy which will be further elaborated in the sections below!


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Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Diptera

Family: Hippoboscidae

Genus: Pseudolynchia

Speciescanariensis

   

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Figure 3: Video of Pigeon flies on a male Pink Necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans). Video Credits: Chiu Sein Chiong

Distribution

Pigeon fliesare found in most parts of the world (mainly subtropical and tropical) where pigeons can be found. Areas include Africa, Mediterranean Sub-region, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan, and across Southeast Asia.

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Figure 4: Known occurances of Pigeon Fly. Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons. Edited by: Leshon Lee

Life cycle

Pigeon flies have a very unique life cycle. Unlike most flies, they “gives birth” to its offspring instead of laying eggs. A single egg will hatch inside the fly’s uterus and feed on the secretions of its mother’s “milk glands”. After the 3rd larval instar stage and when the larvae has reached its maximum size, it forms a prepupa or a puparium. The mother will then “give birth” to it. Shortly after leaving the mother’s body, the prepupa will harden to form a brown pupa. The pupa are generally found around bird's roosting sites or even on the birds themselves. Finally, it will undergo complete metamorphosis and emerge as a young adult

Footnote Macro

Theodor, O. (1975). Diptera Pupipara. Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

.

Image RemovedFigure 10:White prepupa (Mature 3rd larval instar which has stopped feeding and immediately begins to form a puparium when it is delivered by the mother), brown pupa and an adult pigeon flyImage Credits: Karen Wheeler, University of Florida.(Pending Permission)

Parasitism

As the name suggests, the pigeon fly's main host is the pigeons and doves from the Order Columbiformes. It has piercing mouthparts that punctures the skin of the bird and sucks the blood of its host. With its ability to fly from one bird host to another, the Pigeon fly has been found on many other bird hosts from the Orders Ciconiiformes, Falconiformes, Cuculiformes, Strigiformes, Coraciiformes, and Passeriformes.

Footnote Macro

Bequaert, J. C. (1954). The Hippoboscidae or louseflies (Diptera) of mammals and birds. Part II. Taxonomy, evolution and revision of American genera and species(Vol. 34, New). Entomologica Americana.

Taxi, taxi!: Phoresy of Lice and Mites

Phoresy is a type of commensalism where one species hitches a ride on another species to ensure its dispersal. Pigeon flies have a phoretic association withmite species, such as Myialges spp. and Ornitocheyletia hallae volgin, and amblyceran and ischnoceran lice. This allows the mites and lice to be dispersed throughout a wide range of pigeons. This is especially important for these parasites as the hosts will eventually die, thus the Pigeon fly is an escape route for them to travel to another host to propagate and survive to pass on its genes to the next generation.



Footnote Macro

Bartlow, Andrew W Villa, Scott M Thompson, Michael W Bush, Sarah E. (2016). Walk or ride? Phoretic behaviour of amblyceran and ischnoceran lice. International Journal for Parasitology, 46(4), 221-227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.01.003

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Figure 12: Dorsal (Top) and ventral (Bottom) photograph of a fly from the family Hippoboscidae with 4 unidentified lice biting onto the fly's abdomen to hitch a ride. Image credits: Leshon Lee

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Figure 11: Photo of Pseudolynchia canariensis from a captive rock pigeon (Columba livia) with 2 amblyceran lice attached to it. Inset: Scanning election microscope (SEM) image. Image credits: Bartlow et al.

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Figure 13: Image of Myialges sp. egg cluster on the abdomen of a fly from the family Hippoboscidae. Image credits: Leshon Lee

Disease Vector

Pigeon flies have been known to be a carrier of Haemoproteus columbae, a protozoan that causes pigeon malaria.

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Figure 14: General life cycle of Haemoproteus. Image credit: Pinterest

Footnote Macro

[Avian Malaria Cycle]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2018, from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/109071622210278203/?lp=true

Pigeons will be infected when bitten by a Pigeon fly that carries Haemoproteus columbae. The sporozoites from the saliva of the fly enters the blood stream and invade the endothelial cells of the blood vessels of the lungs, liver and spleen. They then congregate to form schizonts. Each schizont will multiply to form 15 or more small, unpigmented bodies known as cytomeres, each with a single nucleus. Each cytomere grows still further, and its nucleus undergoes multiple fission. Eventually, the host cell becomes considerably hypertrophied (enlarged) and is filled with a number of multinucleate cytomeres. The endothelial cells break down, releasing the cytomeres, which accumulate in the capillaries, ocassionally resulting in complete blockage. They are irregularly shaped and tortuous, and may send out branches along the capillaries, becoming bifurcate, trifurcate or even multiradiate. Each cytomere produces an enormous number of merozoites, which infects the ethyrocytes (Red blood cells) of the pigeon and develop into gametocytes.

Footnote Macro

Huff, C. (1942). Schizogony and Gametocyte Development in Leucocytozoon simondi, and Comparisons with Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 71(1), 18-32. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/30093867

Another Pigeon fly may feed of the infected bird's blood, resulting in the Pigeon fly being a vector. The gametocytes will then continue its life cycle in the midgut of the fly by maturing and sexually reproducing to form an encapsuled zygote known as an oocyst. The oocyst will rupture and infect the salivary glands of the pigeon fly, ready to infect its next pigeon host.

Do pigeon flies feed on humans?

It may seem like an obvious answer but a daring study in 1931 done by G. Robert Coatney found that the Pigeon fly is able to feed on humans! Coatney recruited 2 friends to carry this experiment out by forcing the flies to bite them and suck their blood, effectively becoming the host for the flies. However, they only feed on humans blood when there is a lack of choice, on in this case, when being forced to. A red and itchy bite mark appeared which persisted for 6 days, 9 days, and 20 days for Coatney and his friends respectively.

By having a diet of only human blood, the flies could not survive for long or reproduce. The male Pigeon fly lived for 12 days while the female Pigeon fly lived for 7 days and never produced a larvae.

Footnote Macro

Coatney, G. R. (1931). On the Biology of the Pigeon Fly, Pseudolynchia maura Bigot (Diptera, Hippoboscidae). Parasitology, 23(4), 525–532. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031182000013901

This effectively shows that the Pigeon flies are very host specific and only by feeding on pigeons will they be able to survive and reproduce. Therefore fret not! Unless pigeons have been wiped out throughout the world, we, humans, do not have to worry about these little critters sucking our blood and potentially transmitting deadly diseases to us.

Is it also a vector for human diseases?

The pigeon fly is under the Superfamily Hippoboscoidea together with the infamous tsetse fly. The tsetse fly is a vector for the African trypanosomiasis, also known as the sleeping sickness. It is caused by the parasite,Trypanosoma brucei, which is dispersed by the tsetse fly to humans living in Central Africa. If not treated, the sleeping sickness can be lethal.

Footnote Macro

World Health Organisation. (2018, February 16). Trypanosomiasis, human African (sleeping sickness). Retrieved October 17, 2018, from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/trypanosomiasis-human-african-(sleeping-sickness)

Thankfully, the tsetse fly's geographical distribution is only within Central Africa. However, since the pigeon fly is a close relative to the tsetse fly, some scientists are conducting researcgh to find out if the pigeon flies also carry trypanosomes since it may also result in a disease outbreak all over the world! Till then, it is still not known if the pigeon fly is a vector for human diseases.

Identification

The pigeon fly is dorsoventrally flattened which allows the fly to slide between feathers and hide amongst them to avoid detection

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

.

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4 claws on each of its 6 legs to hook tightly onto the bird host

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

.

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Presence of piercing mouthpart to penetrate the bird host's skin and suck their blood. Its mouthpart is directed forwards rather than downwards

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

.

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Legs are robust with enlarged femora, thus showing its reliance on the legs are scurrying amongst the feathers

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

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Figures 5-9: Illustrations of a Pigeon fly and its morphology. Fig. 6(A): Wing. Fig. 6(B): Head. Fig. 6(C): Puparium (Top view). Fig. 6(D): Puparium (Side view). Fig. 6(E): Puparium respiratory lobes. Fig. 6(F): Male terminalia. Fig. 6(G-H): Dorsal basal area of abdomen. Fig. 7(A): Dorsal and ventral thorax, basal area of left wing. Fig. 7(ALU): Alula. Fig. 7(AN+): Combined anal, 3rd posterior and axillary cells of the wing. Fig. 7(AXV): Axillary vein. Fig. 7(2B+): Combined 2nd basal and 2nd posterior cells of the wing. Fig. 7(CO): Costa. Fig. 7(DCL): Upper Calypter. Image Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology.

Footnote Macro

Figure 5-9.  Illustrations of Pseudolynchia canariensis. From Illustration Archive, by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology. http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/34020751f-6dca-492f-8a49-8bd11d652a06. Reprinted with permission.

Type Information

It does not have a holotype. However, it has a syntype stored at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

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Figure 15-17 (Left to right): Image of Pseudolynchia canariensis syntypeImage credits: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Creative Commons).

Footnote Macro

Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris (France). (n.d.). MNHN-ED-ED6023 [Digital image]. Retrieved October 16, 2018, from http://coldb.mnhn.fr/catalognumber/mnhn/ed/ed6023

Original Description

The pigeon fly was first described by Justin Pierre Marie Macquart, a french entomologist specialising in Diptera, in 1839 as Olfersia canariensis.

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Figure 18: The original description of the pigeon fly.

Footnote Macro

Macquart J.1839 - Animaux articulés recueillis aux Îles Canaries par MM. Webb et Berthelot. Diptères. Histoire Naturelle des Îles Canaries. II (2ème partie), 13 : 97-119.

 Image credits: Bibliothèque nationale de France

Name

Binomial name: Pseudolynchia canariensis Macquart, 1839

Vernacular name: Pigeon fly

Synonyms: Lynchia simillima Speiser, 1904  

                  Olfersia canariensis Macquart, 1839

                  Olfersia capensis Bigot, 1885      

                  Olfersia exornata Speiser, 1900

                  Olfersia falcinelli Rondani, 1879

                  Olfersia lividicolor Bigot, 1885   

                  Olfersia maura Bigot, 1885         

                  Olfersia rufipes Macquart, 1847

                  Olfersia testacea Macquart, 1843

Nomenclature History 

The pigeon fly was first described by Macquart as Olfersia canariensis in 1839. Since then, many other entomologists such as Bigot, Speiser, and even Macquart himself have still redescribed the pigeon fly under the genus Olfersia. In 1926, the genus Pseudolynchia was described by Bequaert, and the genus Olfersia was split

Footnote Macro

Bequaert, J. (1925). Notes on hippoboscidae. Psyche32(6), 265-277.

. The pigeon fly was eventually placed under the genus Pseudolynchia.

Why is the genus called Pseudolynchia?.

Pseudolynchia literally means "fake Lynchia". According to Maa(1966), the genus Psuedolynchia is closely related to Lynchia sensu Bequaert 1926 and particularly to Microlynchia Lutz 1915 and its only unique character is the presence of finger-like processes on scutellum

Footnote Macro

Maa, T. C. (1966). On the Genus Pseudolynchia BEQUAERT. Pacific Insects Monograph10, 125-138.

. The sexual dimorphism, vibrissal and metabasisternal processes, facial and prescutal pilosity and posterior scutellar truncation are shared by some of the Lynchia species-groups; whereas the venation and abdominal features are similar to those in Microlynchia

Footnote Macro

Maa, T. C. (1966). On the Genus Pseudolynchia BEQUAERT. Pacific Insects Monograph10, 125-138.

. Therefore, Pseudolynchia stands most probably intermediate of Lynchia and Microlynchia and may be considered primarily an Old World counterpart of the latter

Footnote Macro

Maa, T. C. (1966). On the Genus Pseudolynchia BEQUAERT. Pacific Insects Monograph10, 125-138.

Phylogeny

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Figure 19: Phylogenetic tree of Hippoboscoidea showing bootstrap values and posterior probability.

Footnote Macro

Petersen, F. T., Meier, R., Kutty, S. N., & Wiegmann, B. M. (2007). The phylogeny and evolution of host choice in the Hippoboscoidea (Diptera) as reconstructed using four molecular markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution45(1), 111–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.023

Top line shows bootstrap values and posterior probability respectively.

This tree was built by Petersen et al. (2007) using maximum parsimony. Bootstrap values as shown in fig. 19 are generally high, thus showing high support for the nodes. However, the bootstrap values within the clade Ornithomya are less than 50. Additionally, the posterior probability values using bayesian inference are generally high. However, those values should be taken with a pinch of salt as they are generally more optimistic about the support at the nodes than it actually is. 

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Figure 19

Biology of Pigeon Fly

Live birth in flies??

Unlike most flies, pigeon flies “give birth” to their offspring instead of laying eggs. A mother fly "gives birth" to only one offspring maggot at a time. A single egg will hatch inside the fly’s uterus and feed on the secretions from the “milk glands” within the abdomen of the mother. After the 3rd larval instar stage and when the larvae has reached its maximum size, it forms a prepupa or a puparium. The mother will then “give birth” to it. Shortly after leaving the mother’s body, the prepupa will harden to form a brown puparium. The puparium are generally found around bird's roosting sites or even on the birds themselves. Finally, it will undergo complete metamorphosis and emerge as a young adult

Footnote Macro

Theodor, O. (1975). Diptera Pupipara. Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Image Added

                                                                                                                                      Figure 3: Life cycle of the pigeon fly.                                                                                                                                                   Image Credits: Leshon Lee(Adult fly), Karen Wheeler, University of Florida(White Prepupa), Foo Mao Sheng (Darkened Pupa)

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Figure 4: White prepupa (Mature 3rd larval instar which has stopped feeding and immediately begins to form a puparium when it is delivered by the mother), brown pupa and an adult pigeon flyImage Credits: Karen Wheeler, University of Florida.(Pending Permission)

A mother's dedication 

The mother pigeon fly has to provide nutrients for her young until it emerges from the mother's body. Moreover, the prepupa would have to be of a similar mass to the mother itself, otherwise the young would get smaller with each generation. Imagine giving birth to a baby the same size as you! These flies would go through that 10 to 20 times throughout their lives. This shows the mother's commitment to passing her genes on to the next generation, no matter how tough it may be.


Parasitism

The pigeon fly's main host is the pigeons and doves from the Order Columbiformes. It has piercing mouthparts that punctures the skin of the bird and sucks the blood of its host. With its ability to fly from one bird host to another, the Pigeon fly has been found on many other bird hosts from the Orders Ciconiiformes, Falconiformes, Cuculiformes, Strigiformes, Coraciiformes, and Passeriformes.

Footnote Macro

Bequaert, J. C. (1954). The Hippoboscidae or louseflies (Diptera) of mammals and birds. Part II. Taxonomy, evolution and revision of American genera and species(Vol. 34, New). Entomologica Americana.


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Figure 5: Piercing mouthpart of the pigeon fly. Image credits: Leshon Lee

Taxi, taxi!: Phoresy of Lice and Mites

Phoresy is a type of commensalism where one species hitches a ride on another species to ensure its dispersal. Pigeon flies have a phoretic association withmite species, such as Myialges spp. and Ornitocheyletia hallae volgin, and amblyceran and ischnoceran lice. Many bird lice and mites are host species specific and they do not have wings to fly. As such, they need to find another method of moving around. Their answer lies in the pigeon fly. The pigeon fly (and other flies from the family Hippoboscidae) help disperse these lice and mites throughout a wide range of birds. The lice will only drop off when they have reached their specific host. This helps the lice and mites infect many birds without the need to travel on foot from one bird to another. This is especially important for these parasites as the hosts will eventually die. Hence, the Pigeon fly is an escape route for them to travel to another host to propagate and survive to pass on its genes to the next generation.

Image AddedImage Added

Figure 7: Dorsal (Top) and ventral (Bottom) photograph of a fly from the family Hippoboscidae with 4 unidentified lice biting onto the fly's abdomen to hitch a ride. Image credits: Leshon Lee


Image AddedFigure 9: An image of the unidentified louse from Figure 7. Image credits: Leshon Lee


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Figure 6: Photo of Pseudolynchia canariensis from a captive rock pigeon (Columba livia) with 2 amblyceran lice attached to it

Footnote Macro

Bartlow, Andrew W Villa, Scott M Thompson, Michael W Bush, Sarah E. (2016). Walk or ride? Phoretic behaviour of amblyceran and ischnoceran lice. International Journal for Parasitology, 46(4), 221-227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.01.003

. Inset: Scanning election microscope (SEM) image. Image credits: Bartlow et al., 2016


Image Added

Figure 8: Image of Myialges sp. egg cluster on the abdomen of a fly from the family Hippoboscidae. Image credits: Leshon Lee

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Figure 10: Image of Myialges sp. mite that was found on the abdomen of a fly from the family Hippoboscidae. Image credits: Mackenzie Kwak


Disease Vector

Pigeon flies have been known to be a carrier of Haemoproteus columbae, a protozoan that causes pigeon malaria, around the world. However, it is not known if it is present in Singapore.

Image Added

Figure 9: General life cycle of Haemoproteus. Image credit: Pinterest

Footnote Macro

[Avian Malaria Cycle]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2018, from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/109071622210278203/?lp=true

Pigeons will be infected when bitten by a Pigeon fly that carries Haemoproteus columbae. The sporozoites from the saliva of the fly enters the blood stream and invade the endothelial cells of the blood vessels of the lungs, liver and spleen. They then congregate to form schizonts. Each schizont will multiply to form 15 or more small, unpigmented bodies known as cytomeres, each with a single nucleus. Each cytomere grows still further, and its nucleus undergoes multiple fission. Eventually, the host cell becomes considerably hypertrophied (enlarged) and is filled with a number of multinucleate cytomeres. The endothelial cells break down, releasing the cytomeres, which accumulate in the capillaries, ocassionally resulting in complete blockage. They are irregularly shaped and tortuous, and may send out branches along the capillaries, becoming bifurcate, trifurcate or even multiradiate. Each cytomere produces an enormous number of merozoites, which infects the ethyrocytes (Red blood cells) of the pigeon and develop into gametocytes.

Footnote Macro

Huff, C. (1942). Schizogony and Gametocyte Development in Leucocytozoon simondi, and Comparisons with Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 71(1), 18-32. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/30093867

Another Pigeon fly may feed of the infected bird's blood, resulting in the Pigeon fly being a vector. The gametocytes will then continue its life cycle in the midgut of the fly by maturing and sexually reproducing to form an encapsuled zygote known as an oocyst. The oocyst will rupture and infect the salivary glands of the pigeon fly, ready to infect its next pigeon host.


Do pigeon flies feed on humans?

It may seem like an obvious answer but a daring study in 1931 done by G. Robert Coatney found that the Pigeon fly is able to feed on humans! Coatney recruited 2 friends to carry this experiment out by forcing the flies to bite them and suck their blood, effectively becoming the host for the flies. However, they only feed on human blood when there is a lack of choice, on in this case, when being forced to. A red and itchy bite mark appeared which persisted for 6 days, 9 days, and 20 days for Coatney and his friends respectively. The reason for the variation in the number of days taken for the appearance of the bite mark is unknown and such an experiment has never been repeated since then

By having a diet of only human blood, the flies could not survive for long or reproduce. The male Pigeon fly lived for 12 days while the female Pigeon fly lived for 7 days and never produced larvae.

Footnote Macro

Coatney, G. R. (1931). On the Biology of the Pigeon Fly, Pseudolynchia maura Bigot (Diptera, Hippoboscidae). Parasitology, 23(4), 525–532. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031182000013901

This effectively shows that the Pigeon flies are host specific and only by feeding on birds will they be able to survive and reproduce. Therefore fret not! Unless pigeons have been wiped out throughout the world, humans do not have to worry about these little critters sucking our blood and potentially transmitting deadly diseases to us.


Is it also a vector for human diseases?

The pigeon fly belongs to the Superfamily Hippoboscoidea together with the infamous tsetse fly. The tsetse fly is a vector for the African trypanosomiasis, also known as the sleeping sickness. It is caused by the parasite,Trypanosoma brucei, which is dispersed by the tsetse fly to humans living in Central Africa. If not treated, the sleeping sickness can be lethal.

Footnote Macro

World Health Organisation. (2018, February 16). Trypanosomiasis, human African (sleeping sickness). Retrieved October 17, 2018, from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/trypanosomiasis-human-african-(sleeping-sickness)

Thankfully, the tsetse fly's geographical distribution is only within Central Africa. However, since the pigeon fly is a close relative to the tsetse fly, some scientists are conducting research to find out if the pigeon flies also carry trypanosomes since it may also result in a disease outbreak all over the world! Till then, it is still not known if the pigeon fly is a vector for human diseases.


Distribution

Pigeon flies are a cosmopolitan species and are found everywhere in Singapore and in most parts of the world (mainly subtropical and tropical) where pigeons can be found. Currently, the pigeon fly has only been found on the Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) and the Pink-Necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) in Singapore. More studies and counts are needed to establish the distribution of the pigeon fly in Singapore.


Image Added

Figure 10: Known occurances of Pigeon Fly. Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons. Edited by: Leshon Lee

  

Taxonomy of Pigeon Fly

Original Description

The pigeon fly was first described by Justin Pierre Marie Macquart, a french entomologist specialising in Diptera, in 1839 as Olfersia canariensis.

Image Added

Figure 11: The original description of the pigeon fly.

Footnote Macro

Macquart J.1839 - Animaux articulés recueillis aux Îles Canaries par MM. Webb et Berthelot. Diptères. Histoire Naturelle des Îles Canaries. II (2ème partie), 13 : 97-119.

 Image credits: Bibliothèque nationale de France




Type Information

When the pigeon fly was described, the concept of a holotype had not been establised. Since syntypes are allocated to species when no holotypes were assigned, the pigeon fly was designated a syntype, which is stored at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris. 


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Figure 12-14 (Left to right): Image of Pseudolynchia canariensis syntypeImage credits: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Creative Commons).

Footnote Macro

Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris (France). (n.d.). MNHN-ED-ED6023 [Digital image]. Retrieved October 16, 2018, from http://coldb.mnhn.fr/catalognumber/mnhn/ed/ed6023

Identification

If you ever find a fly scurrying around the feathers of pigeons, it is most likely a pigeon fly. Here are a few specific morphological features to identify them!

The pigeon fly is dorsoventrally flattened which allows the fly to slide between feathers and hide amongst them to avoid detection

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

.

Image Added

4 claws on each of its 6 legs to hook tightly onto the bird host

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

.

Image Added

Presence of piercing mouthpart to penetrate the bird host's skin and suck their blood. Its mouthpart is directed forwards rather than downwards

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

.


Image Added

Legs are robust with enlarged femora, thus showing its reliance on the legs are scurrying amongst the feathers

Footnote Macro

Reeves, W. K., & Lloyd, J. E. (2009). Louse Flies, Keds, and Bat Flies (Hippoboscoidea). In Medical and Veterinary Entomology(3rd ed., p. 423). Elsevier.

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Figures 15-19(Left to Right): Illustrations of a Pigeon fly and its morphology. Fig. 16(A): Wing. Fig. 16(B): Head. Fig. 16(C): Puparium (Top view). Fig. 16(D): Puparium (Side view). Fig. 16(E): Puparium respiratory lobes. Fig. 16(F): Male terminalia. Fig. 16(G-H): Dorsal basal area of abdomen. Fig. 17(A): Dorsal and ventral thorax, basal area of left wing. Fig. 17(ALU): Alula. Fig. 17(AN+): Combined anal, 3rd posterior and axillary cells of the wing. Fig. 17(AXV): Axillary vein. Fig. 17(2B+): Combined 2nd basal and 2nd posterior cells of the wing. Fig. 17(CO): Costa. Fig. 17(DCL): Upper Calypter. Image Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology.

Footnote Macro

Figure 15-19.  Illustrations of Pseudolynchia canariensis. From Illustration Archive, by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology. http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/34020751f-6dca-492f-8a49-8bd11d652a06. Reprinted with permission.

Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Diptera

Family: Hippoboscidae

Genus: Pseudolynchia

Speciescanariensis

Name

Binomial name: Pseudolynchia canariensis Macquart, 1839

Vernacular name: Pigeon fly

Synonyms: Lynchia simillima Speiser, 1904  

                  Olfersia canariensis Macquart, 1839

                  Olfersia capensis Bigot, 1885      

                  Olfersia exornata Speiser, 1900

                  Olfersia falcinelli Rondani, 1879

                  Olfersia lividicolor Bigot, 1885   

                  Olfersia maura Bigot, 1885         

                  Olfersia rufipes Macquart, 1847

                  Olfersia testacea Macquart, 1843

Nomenclature History 

The pigeon fly was first described by Macquart as Olfersia canariensis in 1839. Since then, many other entomologists such as Bigot, Speiser, and even Macquart himself have still redescribed the pigeon fly under the genus Olfersia.Subsequently, the genus Olfersia was split and in 1929, Pseudolynchia was described by Bequaert

Footnote Macro

Bequaert, J. (1925). Notes on hippoboscidae. Psyche32(6), 265-277.

. The pigeon fly was eventually placed under the genus Pseudolynchia.


Why is the genus called Pseudolynchia?

Pseudolynchia literally means "fake Lynchia". According to Maa(1966), the genus Psuedolynchia is closely related to Lynchia sensu Bequaert 1926 and particularly to Microlynchia Lutz 1915 and its only unique character is the presence of finger-like processes on scutellum

Footnote Macro

Maa, T. C. (1966). On the Genus Pseudolynchia BEQUAERT. Pacific Insects Monograph10, 125-138.

. The sexual dimorphism, vibrissal and metabasisternal processes, facial and prescutal pilosity and posterior scutellar truncation are shared by some of the Lynchia species-groups; whereas the venation and abdominal features are similar to those in Microlynchia

Footnote Macro

Maa, T. C. (1966). On the Genus Pseudolynchia BEQUAERT. Pacific Insects Monograph10, 125-138.

. Therefore, Pseudolynchia stands most probably intermediate of Lynchia and Microlynchia and may be considered primarily an Old World counterpart of the latter

Footnote Macro

Maa, T. C. (1966). On the Genus Pseudolynchia BEQUAERT. Pacific Insects Monograph10, 125-138.

Cytochrome C Oxidase Subunit 1 Gene 313 Basepair Barcode

The 313 basepair barcode of the Cytochrome Oxidase 1 gene was amplifed using the jgHCO2198 primer by Leshon Lee (unpublished)

Footnote Macro

Leray, M., Yang, J. Y., Meyer, C. P., Mills, S. C., Agudelo, N., Ranwez, V., … Machida, R. J. (2013). A new versatile primer set targeting a short fragment of the mitochondrial COI region for metabarcoding metazoan diversity: Application for characterizing coral reef fish gut contents. Frontiers in Zoology, 10(1), 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-9994-10-34

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The 313 base pair barcode is as shown below:

5’- AAATAAATGTTGATATAAAATAGGATCTCCTCCTCCGGCTGGATCAAAAAATGATGTATTAAAATTTCGATCTGTTAATAGTATAGTGATTGCTCCAGCTAATACAGGTAATGATAATAATAATAAAAGTGCAGTAATTACTACGG

ATCAAACAAATAAAGGTATTCGATCAAATGAAATTCCTGTTGAACGTATATTAATTACAGTAGTAATAAAATTTACTGCTCCTAAAATAGATGAAATTCCTGCCAAATGGAGTGAAAAAATAGCTATATCAACTGAAGCTCCTCTGT

GAGCAATAGTTGATGAAAGA -3’

Phylogeny

Image Added

Figure 20: Phylogenetic tree of Hippoboscoidea showing bootstrap values and posterior probability.

Footnote Macro

Petersen, F. T., Meier, R., Kutty, S. N., & Wiegmann, B. M. (2007). The phylogeny and evolution of host choice in the Hippoboscoidea (Diptera) as reconstructed using four molecular markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution45(1), 111–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.023

Top line shows bootstrap values and posterior probability respectively.

Petersen et al. (2007) sequenced a 760 bp fragment of the carbamolyphosphate synthetase (CPS) region of the CAD gene(also known as "rudimentary" in Diptera), 2kb of 28s DNA, and partial sequences of Cytochrome Oxidase 1(CO1) gene and 16s rRNA. This tree was built by Petersen et al. (2007) using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference. Bootstrap values as shown in fig. 19 are generally high, thus showing high support for the nodes. The node containing Pseudolynchia canariensis has a bootstrap support value of 86 which shows that it is pretty well supported. However, the bootstrap values within the clade Ornithomya are less than 50. Additionally, the posterior probability values using Bayesian inference are generally high, with a value of 1.0 (Maximum value showing strongest support) for the node containing Pseudolynchia canariensis. However, those values should be taken with a pinch of salt because posterior probabilities have been criticized for providing an overestimate of support

Footnote Macro

Simmons, M. P., Pickett, K. M., & Miya, M. (2004). How meaningful are Bayesian support values?. Molecular Biology and Evolution21(1), 188-199. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msh014

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According to one of the authors, Bayesian analysis was used as there were no Maximum Likelihood softwares available in 2007 that could handle a good bootstrap analysis for the dataset. More genes could also be sequenced to build the phylogenetic tree to see if those initially poorly supported nodes would have a higher bootstrap/ posterior probability value after factoring in more genes.


Image Added

Figure 21: Phylogenetic trees showing bootstrap values and posterior probability(Top) and key evolution events(Bottom) of Hippoboscoidea.

Footnote Macro

Petersen, F. T., Meier, R., Kutty, S. N., & Wiegmann, B. M. (2007). The phylogeny and evolution of host choice in the Hippoboscoidea (Diptera) as reconstructed using four molecular markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution45(1), 111–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.023

As seen in fig. 10, viviparity, which is the retention and growth of the fertilized egg within the maternal body until the young animal, as a larva or newborn, is capable of independent existence, has evolved very early on in the phylogenetic tree, resulting in presence of viviparity in all organisms within Hippoboscidea. However, at that time, the larvae were still able to move. It was only when "true" ectoparasitism evolved, then the larvae had reduced movement, resulting in the change from the larvae burrowing into the soil to pupate like the flies in the Glossinidae family to becoming incapable of burrowing and in some cases pupate within the mother's body. The host shift to bird evolved independently in the tree, thus showing convergent evolution. 

ANSWERS

The answer is 3 pigeon flies as shown in the picture!

Image Removed

Figure 20: Answer time! Image credits: Chiu Sein Chiong

Glossary

Bifurcate: Divide into 2 branches or forks

Dorsal: The upper side or back of an animal, plant, or organ.

Dorsoventrally flattened: Flattened along the dorsoventral axis.

Endothelial cells: Cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood or lymph in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. 

Gametocytes: A eukaryotic germ cell that divides by mitosis into other gametocytes or by meiosis into gametes during gametogenesis.

Merozoites

.04.023

As seen in fig. 21, viviparity, which is the retention and growth of the fertilized egg within the maternal body until the young animal, as a larva or newborn, is capable of independent existence, has evolved very early on in the phylogenetic tree, resulting in presence of viviparity in all organisms within Hippoboscidea. However, at that time, the larvae were still able to move. It was only when "true" ectoparasitism evolved, then the larvae had reduced movement, resulting in the change from the larvae burrowing into the soil to pupate like the flies in the Glossinidae family to becoming incapable of burrowing and in some cases pupate within the mother's body. The host shift to bird evolved independently in the tree, thus showing convergent evolution. 

Simmons, M. P., Pickett, K. M., & Miya, M. (2004). How meaningful are Bayesian support values?. Molecular Biology and Evolution21(1), 188-199.

Glossary

Amblyceran lice

Anchor
Amblyceran lice
Amblyceran lice
: Lice from the most primitive group of chewing lice that specialises on both birds and mammals.

Bifurcate

Anchor
Bifurcate
Bifurcate
: Divide into 2 branches or forks.

Commensalism

Anchor
Commensalism
Commensalism
An association between two organisms in which one benefits and the other derives neither benefit nor harm.

Dorsal

Anchor
Dorsal
Dorsal
: The upper side or back of an animal, plant, or organ.

Dorsoventrally flattened

Anchor
Dorsoventrally flattened
Dorsoventrally flattened
: Flattened along the dorsoventral axis.

Endothelial cells

Anchor
Endothelial cells
Endothelial cells
: Cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood or lymph in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. 

Gametocytes

Anchor
Gametocytes
Gametocytes
: A eukaryotic germ cell that divides by mitosis into other gametocytes or by meiosis into gametes during gametogenesis.

Holotype

Anchor
Holotype
Holotype
: A single physical example (or illustration) of an organism, known to have been used when the species (or lower-ranked taxon) was formally described.

Ischnoceran lice

Anchor
Ischnoceran lice
Ischnoceran lice
: Lice from a group of chewing lice that specialises mainly on birds, with a small family specialising on mammals.

Merozoites

Anchor
Merozoites
Merozoites
: A sporozoan trophozoite produced by schizogony that is capable of initiating a new sexual or asexual cycle of development.

Morphological features

Anchor
Morphological features
Morphological features
: Forms and structural features of an organism

Puparium

Anchor
Puparium
Puparium
: The hardened last larval skin which encloses the pupa in some insects, especially higher diptera.

Schizont

Anchor
Schizont
Schizont
: A cell that divides by schizogony to form daughter cells.Sporozoiteform daughter cells.

Scutellum

Anchor
Scutellum
Scutellum
: The posterior portion of either the mesonotum or the metanotum of an insect thorax.

Sporozoite

Anchor
Sporozoite
Sporozoite
: A motile spore-like stage in the life cycle of some parasitic sporozoans (e.g. the malaria organism), which is typically the infective agent introduced into a host.

Syntype

Anchor
Syntype
Syntype
: Any one of two or more biological types that is listed in a description of a taxon where no holotype was designated.

Trifurcate

Anchor
Trifurcate
Trifurcate
: Divide into 3 branches.

Ventral

Anchor
Ventral
Ventral
: The underside of an animal or plant; abdominal.

References

Display Footnotes Macro

This page was authored by Leshon Lee (A0166748M)
Last curated on 15 November 201802 January 2019