Posts Tagged: fly
If you have Mexican sunflowers (genus Tithonia) in your garden, you can expect a diversity of insects--and not just honey bees. Lately we've been...
A longhorned bee, Melissodes agilis, dive-bombs a bumble bee, Bombus fervides. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, takes flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) foraging on the Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A skipper takes a liking to the Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This fly is a pollinator, too! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
As we near the end of celebrating National Pollinator Week, June 16-22, look around and see all the insects foraging on reddish-orange flowers. And...
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) spreads its wings on a purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A sunflower bee (Melissodes agilis) forages on a blanket flower (Gallardia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A green bottle fly rests on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee (Apis mellifera) on a blanket flower (Gallardia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A leafcutting bee, Megachile fidelis, on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Flies are not a topic I was particularly interested in — until recently. In fact, I consider this insect little more than a disease-peddling annoyance. However, after perusing an article on how time moves slower for flies, I followed the research trail to this startling conclusion: Flies avoid swatters because they are adept and calculating.
In fact, with a brain the size of a poppy seed, the fly can outmaneuver the biggest and brightest among us, pulling off an escape in less than 1/10 of a second. This bane of summer barbeques and outdoor picnics flitting over the potato salad and hot dogs is not simply a pesky pest but an amazing aerodynamic machine.
A fly’s visual system is the fastest of any known organism. Its legs literally perform “a ballet” of sorts to reposition its body away from a threat. Even more than that, the fly can take off in any direction, regardless of how its body is aligned, using all-around vision. Its tiny brain can rapidly process sensory information and calculate not only its position but the position of the moving fly swatter. For more information, visit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94110463 to see the transcript of listen to audio of the August 29, 2008 National Public Radio interview of bioengineering researcher and professor at the California Institute of Technology, Michael Dickinson, who studies flies with superslow-motion video cameras.
And about that article on how time moves slower for flies? Well, I learned that a fly’s concept of time is different than ours providing yet another reason they can dodge the swatter. Dr. Andrew Jackson, a researcher at Trinity College Dublin, says that flies “perceive light flickering up to four times faster than we can ... seeing everything in slow motion.”
Co-researcher and professor Graeme Ruxton of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, puts it this way: “Flies might not be deep thinkers, but they can make good decisions very quickly.” (View the article “Flies Are Hard to Catch Because Time Moves Slower For Them” at http://www.businessinsider.com/s?q=Flies+are+hard+to+catch+because+time+moves+slower+for+them%2C+Rosa+Silverman
Just in case you’re looking for a “how-to” on swatting flies without a swatter (No, I’m not kidding), log onto http://www.wikihow.com/Swat-a-Fly-Without-a-Fly-Swatter for hands-on how-to photos.
Fly. (courtesy of the Word Clip Art Gallery online)
The feather-legged fly looks as if it were formed by a committee. It's about the size of a house fly, but there the similarity ends. Black head and...
Distinctively colored tachinid fly, probably Trichopoda pennipes, on Santolina rosmarinifolia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
View from above of Trichopoda pennipes on Santolina rosmarinifolia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Golden abdomen of a Trichopoda pennipes. Note the fringed legs. The fly is on Santolina rosmarinifolia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The first thing you notice about the fly is its brilliant red eyes. They stand out like the proverbial elephant in the room. But they are on a...
FLESH FLY, a member of the Sarcophagidae family, ejects its tongue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
FLESH FLY (Sarcophagidae family) pauses to groom itself. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)