Five Things To Know About Flies

It’s late spring and the flies are buzzing all over again. Let’s discover together some characteristics of this annoying and peculiar insect!

The Hales

Flies are part of the Diptera (Diptera) family, that is, two-winged insects. Actually, flies have 4 wings, but only two are used to fly. The remaining two, instead, help them to regulate the flight, informing them about the position of their body while they are flying.

The Eyes

The flies have two large reddish eyes on either side of the head. They are composed of a myriad of tiny elements called ommatidia, which they use to see the images. It is estimated that the flies process the images with a speed equal to seven times that of man. In practice it is as if they see in slow motion and that is why they are so difficult to capture: they immediately perceive our movements, flying away before being caught.

The flies have three more, simpler eyes on their heads, known as ocelli. These eyes do not perceive images, but only variations in light. Thanks to them, the flies can always detect the position of the Sun, even when it is cloudy, managing to orient themselves perfectly during the flight.

Le Zampe

How do the flies taste food? With their legs! That’s because on their legs they have receptors sensitive to certain substances, such as sugar. So the flies walk on the food, taste it, feed on it and then rub their legs to clean the receptors and get a better understanding of the next “tasting”.

The Proboscide

The proboscis of the flies is very difficult to detect: it is a very small retractable tube at the end of which you can see a kind of suction cup, the labellum. It is nothing else but a real sponge, through which the nutrients are ingested. In case of need, some drops of saliva come out from the trunk, to soften the solid foods. Result? We don’t notice it, but we often eat food on which the flies have first settled and then left their saliva!


Flies are among the most common insects in the world. On average there are about 17 million flies per human being and in total there are at least one million different species!

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