And God Created: The Deer Ked

David Everson


As fall rolls around, it causes the minds of many individuals to wander to the thoughts of the deer hunting season. Going into the woods in hunt of the challenging whitetail deer is a tradition that many people wait and plan for all year. If they have a successful hunt and harvest a deer, they may have an encounter with a small bug that most will overlook or think is something else. It is the deer ked. Let us take a few minutes to look at this amazing but little known bug of God’s creation.

The deer ked is seen by many hunters after they have successfully harvested a deer. They may be seen crawling in the hair of their downed deer. They likely will be mistaken for ticks. They are about the same size, just about the same color, and, when seen crawling in “a tick like fashion” in the deer’s hair, are very easy to mistake; however, they can be easily identified as something other than a tick, because a tick is an Arachnid, which has eight legs. The deer ked has only six legs, which makes it an insect. So, this flattened “tick looking” bug crawling around on the hair of the deer is very easily mistaken as something it is not. 

The deer ked is actually a fly that has lost its wings. The wings fall off when the fly finds a host, a deer, where it will live. These unusual characteristics are not the only ones that this little fly has; let’s look at some of its other features that God designed in the deer ked.

The ked is a very hardy little character with a very thick exoskeleton covering its body. This prevents it from being crushed by the deer. It can crawl quite quickly through the deer’s hair and this is very different from the ticks, which move quite slowly. The ked feeds on the blood of its host and will bite a hunter if it is allowed on the skin, but they are not known to transmit any diseases to the hunters who encounter them.

The female ked has one other very unusual feature: how it reproduces its young. It feeds its young ked with secretions from a “milk gland.” This is a very un-insect like trait. The female produces one larva at a time and keeps the developing young ked in her body until it is ready to pupate. During this time, the larva feeds on the secretions from this unique structure, a “milk gland” in the uterus of the mother. 

The baby ked will go through three stages, called larval instars stages. When the mother gives birth to the white pre-pupa, the pre-pupa immediately begins to darken. It then goes into its pupa shell to undergo metamorphosis to become an adult. Then, this adult fly (that flies very weakly) searches for a new host deer where it will break off its wings when it crawls into the hair. It then begins its lifecycle all over again.

God in His creation of the deer ked, has shown an amazing problem for the evolutionist, as this type of reproductive ability is quite rare in the insects. God, in His wisdom, can easily create any type of feeding system He chooses in animals in the world. “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” Psalms 14:1. –Rt 1 Box 116A, Belington, WV 26250.

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