What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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A small family of ectoparasites of bats, widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics. Only some five species occur in Australia, but both Old World subfamilies - Nycteriboscinae and Ascodipterinae - are represented.

Adults of Nycteribosscinae are blood-sucking and free-living on the host's body. In Ascodipterinae males have vestigial mouthparts and probably do not feed; the females embed themselves in the subcutaneous tissue and there degenerate to a maggot-like sac. All give birth to fully developed larvae that pupate on the floor of the roosting site. There are usually only some 2-8 individuals per bat.


Most adults retain wings, but they are otherwise highly adapted to their ectoparasitic habit, with piercing mouthparts and strongly developed legs and claws. The venation is characteristic: vein Sc is missing and R1 strongly sinuous near the base. Some genera in the family lack wings.


Within Australia, streblids are found in the warmer areas. Our two commonest species are extralimital: Brachytarsina amboinensis (Rond.), which occurs widely in the Oriental Region and B. minuta Jobling, which extends to New Guinea and the Solomons.