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Eye Spy with My Little Eye, says the Fly!

by | Aug 12, 2016 | 0 comments

Ever played the “I spy with my little eye”, game as you traveled upon endless tracks of roadway with parents or friends?  This was the only way, besides calling out state license plates (how boring is that!), that my parentRiding in a car on trips could keep myself and my sibling from killing each other out of boredom and ensuring their parental sanity at the end of a long road trip. Nowadays, parents just hand their kids cell phones with lots of games, ipads, ipods and various other electronics. Full length movies provide hours of entertainment with little parental and child interaction.  In fact, every child has their own entertainment module.

Ok, enough about how parents today have it easy, traveling with their kids.

One of the other staples of a long road trip, was the occasional fly or swarm of flies, that would invaded the vehicle.  This caused minutes of franHouse flytic action as hands waved, papers swatted, the car swerved and windows were rolled up and down in hopes of convincing the fly or flies, that now was the time to exit the vehicle.  Ever wonder, just how that fly managed to evade forced evacuation?  Just what did the fly spy with its’ little eye?

The Fly’s Eye:

The eyes of flies are among the most complex in the insect world. They are compound eyes with many individual facets, each representing a separate light-detecting unit. The fly is a masterpiece of Creation; its wings beat 500 times per second and, as a result, it has a fantastic flying ability. Even more amazing are its eyes, each one of whiCompound eyes Female_Striped_Horse_Fly_(Tabanus_lineola)ch has thousands of extraordinarily complex lenses. A fly has compound eyes on both sides of its head, each of which is divided into 4,000 sections, each section, in turn, has a lens that perceives an image from a slightly different angle. When a fly looks at a flowerfly eyes diagram, the full image appears separately in each of its 8,000 lenses. When these images reach the brain, they combine together like the components of a jigsaw puzzle. As a result, an image that is highly significant for the fly emerges.

It is extraordinary that such a small creature should have thousands of lenses in its eyes and a brain capable of interpreting what it sees.

Motion Detection:

 There’s a reason why flies are especially jumpy and take off at the slightest flinch. A fly’s vision is nowhere near as clear or effective as a human’s, but it’s especially good at picking up form and movement. As an object moves across the fly’s field of vision the ommatidia continually fire and stop firing. This is called a flicker effect. It’s similar to how a scrolling marquis works — with lights turning on and off to give the illusion of motion. Because a fly can easily see motion and form, but not necessarily what the large moving object is, they are quick to flee.  This same flicker effect, slows down the fly’s perception of time. The ability to perceive time on very small scales (slow motion) may be the difference between life and death for fast-moving organisms such as the fly”.

Flies avoid being swatted in the same way Keanu Reeves dodges flying bullets in The Matrix, by watching time pass slowly.

slow motion dodging bullets




Nearly all creatures have eyes, but not all eyes work like the human eye. Dogs can only see in black and white. Owls see better at night than during the day. But do you know how an insect like a fly sees the world? The best way to learn how a fly’s eyes work is to see things from its point of view.

How a fly sees in slow motion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc-YpWBxsHU

 How a fly flies : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajmKA_Cs0vQ

Fly Facts:

  1. Flies can perceive light flickering up to four times faster than we can. “You can imagine a fly literally seeing everything in slow motion.” Read more at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10311821/Flies-see-the-world-in-slow-motion-say-scientists.html
  2. They have the ability to see a nearly 360 degree panorama.
  3. They can see in color but not the colors we see. They may not see red but can respond to UV light (color ranges) that is invisible to us.
  4. Flies are three times more attracted to the color blue than to yellow, and yellow actuallyseems to repel flies rather than lure them in.  Want to read more? http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112476049/what-color-do-flies-likebest/#EQOP2xmPcDFLrYmb.99
  5. There are more than 120,000 species of flies worldwide with about 18,000 found in North America.
  6. A female housefly can lay up to 600 eggs in her short lifetime.
  7. Most flies live an average of 21 days and take on various shapes throughout their short lives.
  8. Flies have a smelling distance of over 750 yards.
  9. A fly’s feeding range is usually limited to about 2 miles.
  10. A single garbage can, if not emptied, can be the breeding ground for about 30,000 flies.
  11. Flies are among the most descusting creatures on Earth. To feed itself, it releases saliva and digestive juices over food and then sucks up thefly eating resulting solution. Because of what they eat and the way they eat, flies contaminate large amounts of food.
  12.  Disease-causing agents are spread on its body, in its mouth parts or through its vomitus and feces . They carry germs of several deadly diseases and cause millions of deaths every year.  Some of the diseases spread by house flies include: Anthrax, Cholera, Conjunctivitis (epidemic), Diptheria (cutaneous), Dysentery, Food poisoning/gastroenteritis, Leprosy, Poliomyelitis, Trachoma, Tuberculosis, Typhoid fever, and Yaws, to name a few.

To get rid of flies, practice your hand, eye coordination and keep your fly swatter handy.


girl with fly swatter

For more info on getting rid of flies check out this link: http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/flies.htm


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