Thursday, 15 July 2010

the common housefly

I'm not the biggest fan of houseflies. In fact, I find them extremely annoying, especially when they land on your leg whilst you are gardening. That said, they do make rather interesting photography subjects, particularly in macro-photography.

The housefly (Musca domestica), is a Diptera of the Brachycera suborder. It is the most common of all domestic flies, accounting for about 90% of all flies in human habitations, and indeed one of the most widely distributed insects, found all over the world.

The adults are 8–12 mm long. Their thorax is gray, with four longitudinal dark lines on the back. The whole body is covered with hair-like projections. The females are slightly larger than the males, and have a much larger space between their red compound eyes. The mass of pupae can range from about 8 to 20 mg under different conditions.

Each fly can lay approximately 500 eggs in several batches of about 75 to 150. Within a day, larvae which is also known as maggots hatch and live and feed on organic material (such as garbage, dead animals or even feces). These maggots live for about a week before crawling into a dry cool place for its transformation into a pupae. The adults which emerge from the pupae live for about 2 weeks to a month. Females are able to mate some 36 hours after emergence from the pupae and copulation usually takes between a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Flies thrive best in warm temperatures, which explains why they are most prevalent in the tropics.

Flies may be a vector of diseases. However, and as bizarre as it sounds, the maggots are also used in medical treatment, particularly to heal open wounds which do not respond to conventional treatment. Maggot therapy (also known as maggot debridement therapy (MDT), larval therapy, larva therapy, larvae therapy, biodebridement or biosurgery) is a type of biotherapy involving the intentional introduction of live, disinfected maggots (fly larvae) into the non-healing skin and soft tissue wound(s) of a human or animal for the purposes of selectively cleaning out only the necrotic tissue within a wound (debridement), disinfection, and promotion of wound healing. You can read more about maggot therapy here .

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