Lipoptena cervi (L., 1758) (Diptera, Hippoboscidae) in a Worcestershire gymnasium

P.F. Whitehead

Paul F. Whitehead, Moor Leys, Little Comberton, Pershore, Worcestershire WR10 3EH email:


The Hippoboscidae is a family of highly distinctive flies which are blood-sucking ectoparasites of mammals and birds. The genera Crataerina and Ornithomya are well-known on House Martins and passerine birds respectively and occur widely in this area. Many species are flightless and may cause consternation if they appear on people, when, by virtue of their exceptionally well-developed tarsal claws, they demonstrate an ability to move in any direction with equal facility. They are very tenacious to the host animal hence the occurrence of Hippobosca in tins of corned beef.


On 30 June 2012 I observed an adult hippoboscid Lipoptena cervi (L.) on the glass door of a gymnasium on the first floor of, and well inside, a health complex in south Worcestershire (SP04). This species is capable of flight although according to Hutson (1984) this is mostly between August and December. Lipoptena cervi is usually associated with deer. No deer occur in the nearby area and none have been confirmed in the gymnasium; equally it is inconceivable that this fly could navigate through some 100 metres of a closed building to gain access to an area which has no opening windows.

I would contend that this fly was introduced to the gymnasium by a human on which according to Hutson (op. cit.) there are 'stray' records. Hopefully a precedent for breeding on them has not been set.


Hutson, A.M., 1984. Keds, flat-flies and bat-flies. Handbooks for the identification of British insects 10(7). Royal Entomological Society of London.