Interesting Facts About Flies To Better Appreciate Them
Flies are two-winged insects that belong to the order Diptera (di = two, ptera = wings). They are found all over the world and are highly adaptive to any surrounding. Flies have been around for thousands of years. Around 120,000 types of flies have been listed and described to this day, although it is confirmed that there are many more waiting to be discovered. Many species of flies are considered pests to humans and animals.
Everyone has encountered flies in their day to day life. We have seen them buzzing around our food, the garbage on the streets and around the muddy fur of animals. Flies play a great role in the ecosystem being adaptive insects that have thrived for centuries. Flies are important pollinators and decomposers.
However, flies are dangerous pests as well. Houseflies have been known to cause diseases such as dysentery and cholera in humans, whereas horse flies can transmit diseases such as anthrax and tularaemia to animals. Mosquitoes can cause dengue, malaria and chicken pox, whereas bluebottle flies can cause typhoid and food poisoning.
Flies may be tiny and annoying, but they do possess a few facts that can make you raise your eyebrow in surprise.
40 Interesting Facts about Flies
1. There around 120,000 species of flies
2. Most flies don’t drink blood
Flies do not drink blood but can be found buzzing around the skin at any point in time. Of all the species of flies available only mosquitoes and horse flies suck blood from the victim.
3. They can carry almost 2 million bacteria on their skin
4. Flies have been known to cause around 65 dangerous diseases in humans. The surface of the skin of a fly is covered with bacteria that can cause these diseases.
5. The largest fly in the world (Gauromydas heroes) can grow up to a length of 2.8 inches.
6. The compound eyes of the eye allow it to have a 360-degree view around it.
7. Flies have a single pair of wings with a reduced club like halteres that give increased stability and maneuverability.
8. Flies are important pollinators and undergo complete metamorphosis during their development and transformation.
9. Most flies have sucking mouthparts or sponging mouthparts for the intake of fluids.
10. The female horse fly can bite humans and animals to get blood because it needs the blood protein in order to lay eggs.
11. Flies rub their appendages (known as proboscis) before eating food and vomit a mixture of saliva and digestive juices onto the food to make it liquidy and easier to eat.
12. Flies love filth. Many flies such as the moth fly and the house fly breed in rotting, decaying matter
13. The horse fly is the fastest flying insect. It can reach speeds of up to 90 miles an hour!
14. After bees and wasps, flies are the second biggest pollinators out there in nature.
15. Flies taste food with their feet!
16. Flies can eat anything – from the nectar of flowers to the pile of feces lying around.
17. Gnats and midges are not particularly dangerous but can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
18. Euryplatea nanaknihali is the smallest fly in the world, with a total body size of only 0.4 mm. It is as small as a grain of salt!
19. Most species of flies live for less than a year, and many die out during the winter.
20. The eggs are often laid in an environment where the larvae can eat and grow. Most flies spend most of their lives as pupa or larvae.
21. Drosophila species (fruit flies) have extensively been used for experimental research because of its small size, small genome, fast-breeding capacity and noticeable difference between the male and female member of the species.
22. Blowfly larva and other Dipteran larvae are used as bait food during fishing.
23. Blowfly larva and maggots are also used in certain medical procedures.
24. The first true Dipterans are from around 240 million years ago.
25. Perfect fossil pieces have been found of various species of flies that date back to thousands of years. Flies are seen embedded in chunks of amber in such scenarios.
26. The body of a fly is short and streamlined – this is an evolutionary aspect of its biology that has given it the ability to fly faster.
27. Flies can change direction mid-flight in 50 milliseconds. The halteres give them increased stability while flying.
28. Swarming behavior is commonly seen in flies, and many of them mate during the flight.
29. Flies act as a food source to some animals at every stage of development – from egg to adult.
30. Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese that is made using the larvae of the cheese fly. Many have raised objections to this, keeping in mind the medical point of view, but the cheese continues to be a popular item amongst the people.
31. The larvae of flies can often be aquatic, but most flies prefer to stay out of the water and above ground (except the moth fly or the drain fly).
32. Flies are often known as “filth flies” because of the various diseases they cause. They can be vectors and carriers of a variety of diseases, from cholera to typhoid. It is right to assume that flies are attracted to areas that lack in basic hygiene.
33. Entomophobia is the fear of insects or of flies.
34. The buzzing sound you hear when there is a fly nearby is generated because of the friction between the two wings during the fight.
35. Flies rely on their sense of vision more than any other insect. They can also detect the vibrations of wing beats.
36. Flies have been known to be carriers of diseases such as anthrax, leprosy and E.Coli related infections.
37. Food-borne diseases are the most common diseases spread by flies. Their quick flight and small size make it difficult for people to notice them at times – and they easily end up contaminating food.
38. Most flies prefer to fly at night or in shady places, but many are attracted to sources of light. This is why it is common to see a bunch of flies buzzing aimlessly around a light bulb. However, it has been found that flies are more active during the day, even though they prefer the shade of the night.
39. The common house fly is found on every continent on the planet, making it a worldwide household pest and a truly adaptive species.
40. Flies often have been found to mimic bees or wasps in order to be avoided by predators.
Flies, What A Fascinating Pest!
An abundance of flies, or even just one, can really drive you crazy at times. Being the common pest it is, it’s nice to sit back and learn about the interesting facts about flies sometimes. The tiniest things in life can have quite the purpose, and flies have really come a long way! Who knows what the Earth would have been without them, so for the first time we’d like to say: Thank you, flies.