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Flies

A fly with bee-like markings, the hoverfly moves its wings in figure-of-eight movements to hover over flowers as it feeds. Some...Read More >>A fly with bee-like markings, the hoverfly moves its wings in figure-of-eight movements to hover over flowers as it feeds. Some hoverfly larvae live in ant or termite nests or tunnel inside plants. Flies are insects with only one pair of stiff, transparent wings. The group includes crane flies, gnats and mosquitoes. They are able to fly at high speed and with great agility. Coarse, bristly hairs on their legs and body detect air movement, while their short antennae sense smells and vibrations. Flies' compound eyes give nearly all-round vision. Instead of biting jaws, flies have mouthparts that they use to suck up liquid food. Although some species spread diseases, many flies help to keep our environment clean, by feeding on dung or rotting material such as dead plants and animals.


{alt}Chrysops deer fly feeding{more}Click to play video

Feeding

To eat foods that are not already liquids, a fly vomits over them. This liquefies the food so that the fly can suck it up with its spongy mouth. Many flies help to pollinate flowers by feeding on nectar and pollen, while others are scavengers. Some females feed on blood in order to gain proteins needed for laying eggs. In order to get to their warm, liquid meal of blood, they use needle-like piercing mouthparts called "stylets".
A bluebottle, a species of blow fly, feeding
Eggs and maggots on a piece of meat, seen greatly magnified.

Reproduction

There are more than 150,000 known species of fly in the world—and there may be 1 million more species yet to be discovered.

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