Flies are often unwelcome guests at the picnic table. They are those annoying, hairy, buzzing insects that are after your delicious tuna salad. You shoo them away or swat them because you know they’ve been hanging around on poop, dead animals, and garbage…and don’t even wash their hands afterwards!
However, many people don’t realize that flies are actually a very interesting and diverse group of insects. There is the fly that comes to mind when someone says “shoo fly”: the black, hairy fly with the nagging tendency to clean its hairy legs while its on top of a peach that has gone soft. Besides this familiar guests, there are many different species of flies that people are not aware of.
Take this fly, for instance. This fly is commonly referred to as either the flower fly or hover fly. It is one of the species of flies that mimics bees and wasps to deter predators from trying to eat it. Predators like birds see its bee-like pattern and avoid it out of fear of getting stung.
There are about 120,000 species of flies that have been discovered so far. The actual number is thought to be much higher! Not all flies are like the common house fly. Some like to hang around flowers rather than trash. Some can pack a nasty bite, such as the horsefly, which is known for attacking animals and sucking their blood. Yikes!