Pseudolynchia canariensis (Macquart, 1840), commonly known as a Pigeon Fly is a biting fly in the family Hippoboscidae. Like most flies from the family Hippoboscidae, the Pigeon Fly specifically parasitizes on birds from the family Columbidae, such as pigeons and doves, thus its common name.


Pseudolynchia canariensis are found is most part of the world (mainly subtropical and tropical) where pigeons can be found. Areas include Continental Africa, Mediterranean Sub-region, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.



Figures 2-6: Illustrations of Pseudolynchia canariensis and its morphology. Image Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology.

Pseudolynchia canariensis is brown and dorsoventrally flattened. This allows the fly to hide in between the feathers of its hosts to avoid detection.  Additionally, it has a hard exoskeleton which makes it more difficult for the birds to crush the flies using their beaks when preening.

Length of Head and Body:

Length of Wings:

Life cycle

Pseudolynchia canariensis has a very unique life cycle. Unlike most flies, Pseudolynchia canariensis “gives birth” to its offspring instead of laying eggs. A single egg will hatch inside the fly’s uterus and feed on the mother’s “milk glands”. When the larva becomes a prepupa, the mother will “give birth” to it. Shortly after leaving the mother’s body, it will harden to form a pupa. Finally, it will undergo complete metamorphosis and emerge as a young adult.


Phoresy is a type of commensalism where one species hitches a ride on another species to ensure its dispersal. Pseudolynchia canariensis has a phoretic association with mite 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 Pseudolynchia canariensis is an escape route for them to travel to another host to propagate and survive to pass on its genes to the next generation.

Type Information

Figure 7-8: Image of Pseudolynchia canariensis syntype. Image credits: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle.

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


Figure 9: Phylogenetic tree of Hippoboscoidea.

DNA Barcoding

A 421 base pair barcode from the cytochrome oxidase 1 gene was sequenced and uploaded onto GenBank (Ascension number: KF453425.1) by Duron et al. (2014).

Figure 10: Screenshot of details on Cytochrome Oxidase 1 gene on GenBank.


Figure 2-6.  Illustrations of Pseudolynchia canariensis. From Illustration Archive, by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology. Reprinted with permission.

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.

Duron, O., Schneppat, U. E., Berthomieu, A., Goodman, S. M., Droz, B., Paupy, C., … Tortosa, P. (2014). Origin, acquisition and diversification of heritable bacterial endosymbionts in louse flies and bat flies. Molecular Ecology, 23(8), 2105–2117.

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 Evolution, 45(1), 111–122.

This page was authored by Leshon Lee (A0166748M)
Last curated on 19 September 2018