Bug’s Life

Our guide to Bri­tish in­ver­te­brates

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

Known col­lec­tively as hip­po­bosci­dae, this fam­ily of winged and wing­less in­sects thrives as a par­a­site of both birds and an­i­mals. The brown, flat­tened blood-suck­ing crit­ters have six sturdy legs and are of­ten mis­taken for ticks, which have eight legs. How­ever, keds move a lot quicker than ticks, they don’t bur­row into the skin and they’re very hard to crush. Of­ten found on birds of prey, they can carry blood-borne par­a­sites between one bird and an­other.

Si­mon Lester

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