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House flies were instead blessed with sponge-like tongues. Only in flies, we call their tongues labella the singular is labellum , but the fly has a matched pair. House flies " taste " with their feet, so they have no choice but to walk on their food and ours, should they be sampling our picnic menu.

When a house fly comes upon something that seems like it might be yummy—keep in mind that dog poop is the kind of thing house flies find yummy—it will reflexively stick out its labella and press them against the potential food item to investigate.

Liquids can be slurped up without much effort. Inside the house fly's head is a structure called a cibarial pump or food pump , which generates a suction to draw the liquid up through channels in the mouthparts called pseudotrachea. So, how does the house fly make a meal out of meat, or any other solid food like dog poop? The house fly dabs the tasty morsel with digestive enzymes by bringing up a little regurgitated food and saliva. The enzymes begin breaking down the solid food, gradually turning it into a slurry the house fly can then lap up.

Meat milkshake, anyone? Now, think about the last time you had the stomach flu. Anytime you vomit repeatedly, you run the risk of dehydration, so you have to drink a lot of fluids to replace the ones you lost. Flies are no different. This liquid diet means flies require a lot of water. And when you drink a lot of water…well, let's just say what goes in, must come out, right? So flies do a lot of defecating, too. Therefore, in answer to the original question, "Do flies really vomit and poop when they land on you?

They void when they land on food. It's certainly faster in children. TV, computer and cinema screens all flicker but provide the illusion of constant images because of the high frequencies at which they operate.

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But dog owners may be surprised to learn that their pets can see TV flickers, said Jackson. Their visual system has a refresh rate higher than that of the TV screen. The animals studied covered more than 30 species, including rodents, eels, lizards, chickens, pigeons, dogs, cats and leatherback turtles.

The latter are big creatures with a slow metabolic rate, for whom time passes relatively rapidly. Smaller, more agile creatures had the most refined ability to perceive information in a unit of time, said the researchers writing in the journal Animal Behaviour. In other words, they were able to see more flickers of light per second. Prof Graeme Ruxton, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, who also took part in the research, said: "Having eyes that send updates to the brain at much higher frequencies than our eyes do is of no value if the brain cannot process that information equally quickly.

Hence, this work highlights the impressive capabilities of even the smallest animal brains. Some animals may exploit differences in time perception to their advantage, according to Dr Luke McNally, another member of the team from the University of Edinburgh.

Females produce a pheromone , Z tricosene muscalure. This cuticular hydrocarbon is not released into the air and males sense it only on contact with females; [12] it has found use as in pest control, for luring males to fly traps. He climbs on to her thorax, and if she is receptive, a courtship period follows, in which the female vibrates her wings and the male strokes her head. The male then reverses onto her abdomen and the female pushes her ovipositor into his genital opening; copulation, with sperm transfer, lasts for several minutes.

Females normally mate only once and then reject further advances from males, while males mate multiple times. The larvae depend on warmth and sufficient moisture to develop; generally, the warmer the temperature, the faster they grow. In general, fresh swine and chicken manures present the best conditions for the developing larvae, reducing the larval period and increasing the size of the pupae. The lifecycle can be completed in seven to 10 days under optimal conditions, but may take up to two months in adverse circumstances.

In temperate regions, 12 generations may occur per year, and in the tropics and subtropics, more than Houseflies play an important ecological role in breaking down and recycling organic matter. Adults are mainly carnivorous ; their primary food is animal matter, carrion , and faeces , but they also consume milk, sugary substances, and rotting fruit and vegetables.

Solid foods are softened with saliva before being sucked up. Adult houseflies are diurnal and rest at night.


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If inside a building after dark, they tend to congregate on ceilings, beams, and overhead wires, while out of doors, they crawl into foliage or long grass, or rest in shrubs and trees or on wires. They arouse in the spring when the weather warms up, and search out a place to lay their eggs. Houseflies have many predators, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, various insects, and spiders.

The eggs, larvae, and pupae have many species of stage-specific parasites and parasitoids. Some of the more important are the parasitic wasps Muscidifurax uniraptor and Spalangia cameroni ; these lay their eggs in the fly larvae tissue and their offspring complete their development before the adult flies can emerge from the pupae.

Housefly - Wikipedia

Houseflies sometimes carry phoretic nonparasitic passengers, including mites such as Macrocheles muscaedomesticae [34] and the pseudoscorpion Lamprochernes chyzeri. The pathogenic fungus Entomophthora muscae causes a fatal disease in houseflies. After infection, the fungal hyphae grow throughout the body, killing the fly in about five days. Infected flies have been known to seek high temperatures that could suppress the growth of the fungus.

Affected females tend to be more attractive to males, but the fungus-host interactions have not been fully understood. Flies are a nuisance, disturbing people at leisure and at work, but they are disliked principally because of their habits of contaminating foodstuffs. They alternate between breeding and feeding in dirty places with feeding on human foods, during which process they soften the food with saliva and deposit their faeces, creating a health hazard.

Flies have been used in art and artefacts in many cultures. In 16th- and 17th-century European vanitas paintings, flies sometimes occur as memento mori. They may also be used for other effects as in the Flemish painting, the Master of Frankfurt Fly amulets were popular in ancient Egypt. Houseflies can fly for several miles from their breeding places, [42] carrying a wide variety of organisms on their hairs, mouthparts, vomitus, and faeces. Parasites carried include cysts of protozoa , e. Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia and eggs of helminths, e.

In the early 20th century, Canadian public health workers believed that the control of flies was important in controlling the spread of tuberculosis. A "swat that fly" contest was held for children in Montreal in The belief that fly control was key to disease control continued, with extensive use of insecticidal spraying, well until the mids, declining only after the introduction of Salk's vaccine. Japanese Yagi bombs developed at Pingfan consisted of two compartments, one with houseflies and another with a bacterial slurry that coated the flies prior to release.

Vibrio cholerae , which causes cholera, was the bacterium of choice, and was used in China in Baoshan in , and in northern Shandong in The Shandong attack killed ,; the occupying Japanese troops had been vaccinated in advance. The ability of housefly larvae to feed and develop in a wide range of decaying organic matter is important for recycling of nutrients in nature. This could be exploited to combat ever-increasing amounts of waste. Flies can be controlled, at least to some extent, by physical, chemical, or biological means. Physical controls include screening with small mesh or the use of vertical strips of plastic or strings of beads in doorways to prevent entry of flies into buildings.

Fans to create air movement or air barriers in doorways can deter flies from entering, and food premises often use fly-killing devices ; sticky fly papers hanging from the ceiling are effective, [47] but electric " bug zappers " should not be used directly above food-handling areas because of scattering of contaminated insect parts.

Keeping garbage in lidded containers and collecting it regularly and frequently, prevents any eggs laid from developing into adults. Unhygienic rubbish tips are a prime fly-breeding site, but if garbage is covered by a layer of soil, preferably daily, this can be avoided. Insecticides can be used.

Larvicides kill the developing larvae, but large quantities may need to be used to reach areas below the surface. Aerosols can be used in buildings to "zap" flies, but outside applications are only temporarily effective. Residual sprays on walls or resting sites have a longer-lasting effect.

Several means of biological pest control have been investigated. These include the introduction of another species, the black soldier fly Hermetia illucens , whose larvae compete with those of the housefly for resources.

Lingering smell

The ease of culturing houseflies, and the relative ease of handling them when compared to the fruit fly Drosophila , have made them useful as model organism for use in laboratories. The American entomologist Vincent Dethier , in his humorous To Know A Fly , pointed out that as a laboratory animal, houseflies did not trouble anyone sensitive to animal cruelty. Houseflies have a small number of chromosomes, haploid six or diploid Oxidative DNA damage 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine in houseflies was found in one study to increase with age and reduce life expectancy supporting the hypothesis that oxidative molecular damage is a causal factor in senescence aging.

The housefly is an object of biological research, partly for its variable sex-determination mechanism.

How Flies Fly

Although a wide variety of sex-determination mechanisms exists in nature e. The housefly is, however, thought to exhibit multiple mechanisms for sex determination, such as male heterogamy like most insects and mammals , female heterogamy like birds , and maternal control over offspring sex. This is because a male-determining gene Mdmd can be found on most or all housefly chromosomes.

There is also a female-determining allele of transformer that is not sensitive to the negative regulation of Mdmd. The antimicrobial peptides produced by housefly maggots are of pharmacological interest. In the s, the aircraft modeller Frank Ehling constructed miniature balsa-wood aircraft powered by live houseflies. The Impertinent Insect is a group of five fables, sometimes ascribed to Aesop , concerning an insect, in one version a fly, which puffs itself up to seem important.

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In the Biblical fourth plague of Egypt , flies represent death and decay, while the Philistine god Beelzebub 's name may mean "lord of the flies". William Blake 's poem "The Fly" , part of his collection Songs of Experience , deals with the insect's mortality, subject to uncontrollable circumstances, just like humans.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with horse-fly. Conservation status. Linnaeus , Further information: Entomological warfare. Gordon Cambridge University Press. Why is it so hard to swat a housefly?

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It sees you coming in slow motion". The Independent. Retrieved 4 December Animal Behaviour. The Insects: An Outline of Entomology 4th ed. Retrieved 27 September Annals of the Entomological Society of America.