‘Mythical’ Corpse-Eating Flies Aren’t Extinct After All

The corpse-eating fly, also known as the bone-skipper fly, was thought to be extinct for more than a century has been rediscovered.

What is a corpse-eating or bone-sipping fly? Exactly what it sounds like; a fly that lives to feast on decayed carcasses. To make it even stranger, these flies don’t feast on just any decaying carcass, no, they prefer large, dead bodies in advanced stages of decay according to Life Science.

Pierfilippo Cerretti, a researcher at the Sapienza University of Rome said that because these flies have been extinct, they have been considered almost mythical or legendary.

“In the past few years, three species of bone-skipper have been rediscovered in Europe, setting off a buzz among fly aficionados.

“But many bone-skippers were found by amateur scientists and recorded in photographs or video; actual specimens of the flies are few and far between.”

The flies’ “previous taxonomy was almost completely incorrect —a mess,” Cerretti told Life Science.

“If you have no good specimens, you have no good taxonomy.”

Little is actually known about the fly and its history. Some things they do know are that the larvae feed on carcasses and spend the summer developing in the soil below and that they have not only been found in large carcasses, bone-skippers have turned up in a bag of dead, decaying snails; dead rodents; traps baited with dead squid; and a dead bird, according a study.

So we know why it’s called the corpse-eating fly, now why is it also known as the bone-skipper?

According to nbcNews, “the bone-skippers get their name from the prominence of bone in the heavily decayed carcasses they call home.”

“Also, developing flies have a habit of jumping or ‘skipping’ up and down, so these carcasses appear ‘alive with larvae.’”

Some other recently discovered creatures have been reported recently, including the Cambodian Tailorbird and the two new species of wood lizards, Enyalioides azulae and E. binzayedi.

With all these new discoveries, and rediscoveries, the corpse-eating fly, also known as the bone-skipper fly, has to be one of the more…. Interesting ones to say the least.

[Image by Daniel Martin-Vega / Systematic Entomology via Live Science]