Milichia patrizii is known as the ant-mugging fly because of the feeding behaviour of females of the species, which steal food from Crematogaster ants.
The flies are found in:
Milichia patrizii was described by Willi Hennig (20 April 1913 - 5 November 1976), who is best known for developing phylogenetic systematics, a coherent theory of the investigation and presentation of the relations that exist among species.
Hennig was particularly interested in flies and wrote an important chapter about the family Milichiidae in 1937. Altogether Hennig described nearly 600 new fly species including 5 freeloader flies.
Milichia patrizii females attack Crematogaster ants to obtain food:
Learn about the appearance of the ant-mugging fly, and find out about the wider fly family it belongs to.
A Milichia patrizii fly stops a Crematogaster ant by grasping its antenna. © Alex Wild
The ant-mugging fly, Milichia patrizii, triggering a regurgitation response from a Crematogaster ant. © Alex Wild
Male Milichia patrizii specimen (photographed by Irina Brake)