The mystery of why zebra’s have stripes may have been solved. Researchers from Hungary and Sweden say the stripes keep away flying insects such as blood-sucking flies. A report, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, described how the stripe widths and polarization patterns of light reflected from zebra hides correlated with the patterns that were least attractive to horse flies. Dark horses were reported to be bitten the most.
If you wondered why a horse fly bite was so painful or how far a fly travels check out these fascinating fly facts.
- Horse flies are attracted to large, dark objects, and to certain animal odors and carbon dioxide.
- Relentless attacks by a horse fly on livestock can result in reduced weight gain.
- Unlike insects that pierce the skin, horse–flies have mouth parts that work like miniature knives, which they use to slash open the skin with a scissor–like motion.
- Cluster flies are often found in large numbers in roof voids in Autumn where they over–winter.
- Flies only eat liquids but they can turn many solid foods into a liquid through spitting or vomiting on it.
- A flies tongue is shaped like a straw so they can suck up their food.
- Flies eat any wet or decaying matter, but they are particularly attracted to pet poo because the odor is strong and it is easy for them to find.
- There are more than 120,000 species of flies worldwide.
- Most flies live an average of 21 days and take on various shapes throughout their short lives.
- Baby flies are called larvae but they are also known as maggots.
- Medical doctors use a special species of maggots to help patients with flesh wounds, especially burn victims. Maggots eat away the damaged flesh, which helps the wound heal.
- These insects have been known to carry over 100 different kinds of disease causing germs.
- House flies tend to stay within 1-2 miles of where they were born but will travel up to 20 miles to find food. They breed in garbage cans, compost heaps and pet areas.
- Fruit flies live for 8-10 days. In that time, females lay around 500 eggs, using rotting fruit or vegetables as their nest.
- The vinegar fly breeds in fermenting residues found in pubs, fruit & vegetables and breweries but may also breed in unclean drains and cleaning utensils.