Monday, 1 April 2019

Housefly


Housefly Musca domestica

The housefly is a fly of the suborder Cyclorrhapha.

Houseflies are able to move their wings 200 times per second and can fly at the speed of almost 8 kms per hour. 

Some facts about flies:

Houseflies live on a liquid diet - they tend to live off a diet based on liquids due to the fact that they do not have any chewing mouthparts so their food source has to be in liquid form. They will regurgitate digestive juices onto solid foods and these juices break down the food, allowing them to use their proboscis to drink their meal.

Flies are like butterflies in that they taste with their feet - this is all down to taste receptors being located on their lower legs and feet, have you not noticed flies seem to be preening themselves? Actually they are just having a good taste.

Flies poo, a LOT. Due to their diet being a liquid one, their digestive system can move quite quickly, which means that they poo often. It is speculative, but it is  believed that houseflies defecate every time they land, even if it's on their next meal - they are definitely NOT discriminative where they poo!

Due to their feeding and breeding habits houseflies come into contact with a range of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli. Because of this, houseflies will often aid the spread of these bacteria passing them onto us by contaminating things, such as food and cooking/eating utensils.

Houseflies can walk upside down, this is due to each foot containing two fat foot pads (pulvilli) which contain tiny hairs that produce a glue-like substance made of sugars and oils which provides them with excellent grip.

Flies can see behind them as they have compound eyes - these intricate eyes provide them with nearly a 360 degree field of vision, which allows them to see behind themselves. Their eyes do not move but as they can see in all directions they can navigate whilst also be on the lookout for danger.

The housefly doesn't live very long - on average it has a life cycle of around 30 days. However, having said that though, during their short life they manage to pack a lot in. They can lay up to 500 eggs which are usually in batches of around 75 to 150. So, although they don't live long an infestation can quickly arise through new generations.

Houseflies have amazing reaction times - our brains process around 60 images a second, whereas a fly can process around 250 in a single second. It is no wonder that they can avoid us when armed with a can of spray, is it?

Yep, flies have unhygienic breeding habits which are rather disgusting really. They lay their eggs on items such as faeces, rotting carcasses and decaying fruit. This will provide the larvae (aka maggots) with something to snack on when they hatch.

The male housefly is an amorous little critter. Studies show (I'm not sure how) that there's a specific region within the eyes of a male fly called the 'love spot'. It is pretty much used for detecting and chasing female flies. This 'spot' is located within the dorso-frontal region of their eyes. This is typically used to detect small target motion, however, males also use it to stay locked onto potential mates during aerial pursuit.

Information for this article was obtained from the Rentokil blogspot.


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