Fleas Hitch Ride on Earwigs to Suck Bat Blood
Scientists have observed these species' unusual behavior in only one other location, a new study says.
In 2006, a team of entomologists trekked deep into the heart of Deer Cave in Malaysia’s Gunung Mulu National Park. They had come to survey the cave’s insects, but the earwigs crawling all over the walls quickly caught their attention.
These thick, hardy earwigs, called Arixenia esau, were so strongly attached to the rock that the scientists had to pry them off with forceps. What’s more, closer inspection revealed that the insects appeared to be infested with fleas. (See National Geographic's extreme cave pictures.)
This was odd. Of the 2,500 species of fleas known to science, 94 percent of them parasitize mammals, and the rest make a living on birds. But fleas preying upon earwigs? That didn’t