Saturday, July 10, 2010

Flies and their reputation

Flies have a bad reputation because some species are ‘harmful’ to humans even though some of these species actually do more good than harm.

Flies belong to an order known as diptera. Diptera is made up of two words, di (two) and ptera (wing). Flies have one pair of wings a feature that distinguishes them from all other insects including several species which have the word fly in their name such as mayflies, fireflies and sawflies. 

Some flies mimic other insects such as bees and wasps. This fools predatory species such as birds but the lack of a second pair of wings gives them away to any careful observer.

It is believed that there are hundreds of thousands of species of flies although half of these have not yet been identified. The situation is similar in Malta as species new to science are still being identified on a regular basis.

I love to be close to nature surrounded by wild plants and animals but mosquitoes which are flies I can live without not only because they sometimes keep me from sleeping properly but also because some species can transmit diseases such as malaria. Sand flies are just as annoying and are vectors for leishmania, a parasitic protozoan responsible for the disease leishmaniasis.

The housefly is another pest that can carry serious diseases. It is the most common of all domestic flies and is one of the most widely distributed insects. It feed on faeces, open sores, and moist decaying organic matter such as spoiled food, eggs and flesh. 

Houseflies can take in only liquid foods. They spit out saliva on solid foods to predigest it, and then suck it back in. They also regurgitate partly digested matter and pass it again to the abdomen. Because of their high intake of food, they deposit feces constantly, one of the factors that makes the insect a dangerous carrier of microbes. They can fly long distances and a fly entering through the kitchen window might have just arrived from an animal farm a considerable distance away. 

This article was published in The Times on 12.05.10


  1. The article was not only a good read but very insightful. I have a query though. How would you target a niche where there are not many blogs and those that are there are not kept up to date and have a low/very niche readership? Any tips would be gratefully received. animal image

  2. I just write about what I know to share my passion for nature.