The presence of a single pair of wings distinguishes true flies from other insects with "fly" in their name, such as mayflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoneflies, whiteflies, fireflies, alderflies, dobsonflies, snakeflies, sawflies, caddisflies, butterflies or scorpionflies. Some true flies have become secondarily wingless, especially in the superfamily Hippoboscoidea, or among those that are inquilines in social insect colonies.
Where do flies live?
House flies occur worldwide except in Antarctica and a few remote islands. They are commonly found on poultry and hog farms, horse stables and ranches. They are found where there is waste for food and manure for breeding.
What does a fly look like?
House flies are the best known fly species. Like all insects, they have 6 legs, 2 antenna, and 3 body regions (head, thorax, and abdomen). Antenna bristles are slightly feathery. Most house flies are 1/16-inch to 1/2-inch long. They are dark with 4 black, lengthwise stripes on the thorax (middle section). Instead of chewing mouthparts, they have sponging mouthparts. They have reddish eyes. Their long, hairy legs have adhesive pads and sharp claws on the tarsus (last segment). They have wings only on the thorax. Wings are made of thin sheets of chitin sandwiched together. A network of veins runs between the sheets to give support. The wings are held level and straight over the back.
What does a fly eat?
Adult house flies feed where they find decaying matter, sugar, or flower nectar. They feed on honeydew left by aphids or other bugs. Adult houseflies never have chewing mouthparts. They use saliva to change solids to liquids. Sponge-like mouthparts pick up semi-liquid foods, such as feces and decaying matter.
How does a fly defend itself?
Flies are preyed upon by birds, spiders, and flying insects. The very large-angled view provided by their compound eyes lets them detect fast movement and evade predators.
What is special about the fly?
House flies are “disease vectors,” carrying as many as a half billion bacteria and other organisms on their body at one time.
Adult house flies can taste with their feet! They use a “vomit drop” of saliva to turn solid morsels into liquid nourishment.
If there are clear plastic bags, half-full of water, outside doors and windows, house flies have trouble. The constant motion of the water interferes with their vision.
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Fly Coloring pages
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