Tag Archives: flies


September 2007

Essay from Current Biology about the varied lives of flies – including the three species that live in land crabs…


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Filed under Ecology (scientific), Insects


March 2007

Let’s say I killed 52 flies when I was in France, 11 years ago. What would have happened to those flies if I hadn’t been around? At 12 generations a year, let’s suppose that 132 generations would have been born, that half of the 52 flies were female, that half of all subsequent generations were female, and finally that each female laid 1,000 eggs.

The total number of female descendants is 26 x 500(132), and the total fly population is twice that number. There would therefore be around 9.550892 x 10(357) flies currently living. At 128 flies to the cubic inch, we get 3.25 x 10(16) per cubic mile, or 2.292 x 10(56) per cubic parsec, which means that all the flies would fit into a cube a little more than 3.45  x 10(100) parsecs on a side.  Our galaxy is 25-30 parsecs across…

Spiders are useful…

Shamelessly stolen from here (to where you should send complaints if the decimals have slipped…):

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Filed under Insects


March 2007

Article from PLoS (open access, by definition) explaining that there is a trade-off  between performance and energetic costs in electrical signals recorded from single photoreceptors in different fly species. Big blowflies can transmit more information than tiny Drosophila, but their photoreceptors use 10 times more energy to encode the same amount of informaiton. They conclude: “neuronal energy consumption increases much more steeply than performance, and this intensifies the evolutionary pressure to reduce performance to the minimum required for adequate function. Thus the biophysical properties of sensory neurons help to explain why the sense organs and brains of different species vary in size and performance.”

You can read my J Exp Biol attempt to summarise this article, here.

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Filed under Behaviour, Insects