Flies, Flies, and Flies

Fascinating article about flies and how they are one of the world’s largest pollinators.

flies are fundamental to the production of many of our favorite foods, such as chocolate, McAlister said. While roughly two dozen insects are known to pollinate cacao plants — the seeds of which are used to make chocolate — nearly all of them are flies, she said. So no flies, no chocolate.

Altogether, more than 100 cultivated crops are largely dependent on flies for pollination, including mangos, cashews, and avocados.

Some flies can also help farmers and home gardeners deal with pests. The larvae of some hoverflies, for example, have a voracious appetite for aphids, small insects that infest crops. (If you buy organic produce, chances are you’ve encountered, or accidentally eaten, aphids.)

“We massively underestimate the impact these tiny little creatures are having,” McAlister said.

Gross as they look, fly larvae also help clean the world of waste — they eat our garbage, our roadkill, and our feces. None is perhaps more impressive than rat-tailed maggots, the larvae of certain kinds of hoverflies. On one end of their body, they have an extendable “breathing siphon” that functions like a snorkel, allowing the maggot to feed in a pile of waste even if it’s deprived of oxygen. “These things scuba dive,” McAlister said.


Read the article, I found it fun to read.

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