Parasites and Diseases
Sheep Ked, Wingless fly
What are keds?
- Keds are a 'wingless' fly that bites the host's skin
- They are often mistaken for ticks but they are a hippoboscid fly
Where are keds found?
- Domestic sheep have one species, Melophagus ovinus and Dall's sheep in Alaska, Yukon and Siberia have a different species, Melophagus montanus
- Most reports are from the Wrangell mountains, central Alaska range and southward
- Lambs are infected by their dams at birth
- The keds only infect sheep, are spread directly from animal to animal and cannot live off the sheep
What are the signs of keds?
- Keds are small, brown insects crawling through the wool of Dall's sheep
- They feed by biting the skin and sucking blood, causing irritations, crusty scabs, hair loss from itching
- Large numbers could cause weakness from blood loss in young animals or after the rut
How can I protect myself?
- You cannot get lice from Dall's sheep
- Heavy infestations may be a sign of a sick animal
Can I eat the meat?
- Meat from affected animals is suitable for human consumption
Samples to collect
- Whole keds, put in crush proof container
- Sample of skin with hairloss, lung sample if abnormal
- Report occurrence and submit samples by contacting the DWC Wildlife Health and Disease reporting line 907-328-8354, send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit your local ADF&G office