Friday, 29 June 2012

I've seen a horse fly...

Now I’m not a huge Disney fan but I often think about those crows in Dumbo:

C 1: Did you ever see an elephant fly? 
C 2: Well, I've seen a horse fly. 
C 3: Ah, I've seen a dragon fly. 
C 4: Hee-hee. I've seen a house fly. 

Well, I only really notice flies when they are being a nuisance. 

Yes, being big we miss so much that is so very small. I really didn’t see these three in the picture as I was snapping, but when I took a proper look there they were; fly one, fly two, and fly three. It got me wondering just how many different types of flies there are in the world and more importantly why are there so many different types. Isn’t one fly pretty much like another? Mind you, looking at these three they all have there own peculiarities and are as different I guess as a tiger, a lion and a leopard. Even so they pretty much all go by the label fly.

Unbelievably there are about 119,500 species of fly according to Google and there are bound to be hundreds of new species hiding in the rain forests just waiting for Sir David Hat-I-Borrowed or Kate Humble to come along and discover them.

The first thing to know about flies is that they have a single pair of wings. Yes, a single pair of wings. So, (also unbelievably) I found that when I stopped to think about it, and despite seeing thousands of flies in my lifetime, I had no idea that this was the case. If Chris Tarrant had asked me on Millionaire if it was 2,4,6 or 8 wings, for the million quid, I’d have had to go fifty-fifty and hope that 2 and 4 weren’t left. Mind you by then I’d probably have used my fifty-fifty and the other lifelines too. Surely I should have known that single wing thing?

Incredibly even though there are so many types of fly there are more types of beetle, more types of butterfly, and more types of bee and wasps. So where are all these beetles and butterflies? During my weekend in Wales I didn’t see a single beetle or butterfly, although I did see bees and wasps. Mind you there are 17 quadrillion flies in the world which might help explain it – not that I really saw the flies; they were just there doing fly things.

17 quadrillion! I don’t even know what a quadrillion is but it would seem to be a great number of flies.

So, why all this stuff about flies? No reason really, it’s just that they popped up in my photograph and made me realise that sometimes I’m amazed by how little I know and how little I notice. Now I'm not a huge Supreme Being fan - and sorry about the construction of this next sentence - but I sometimes wonder if somewhere there’s not something not noticing us? Mmm… perhaps we’re not so big after all.

Oh yeah – a dragonfly isn’t a fly at all, it can’t be; it has two pairs of wings. Just goes to show what crows know.


  1. Kevin Parrott on Facebook: Two types, zip & button!

  2. Really like this piece. Made me chuckle AND I get it. I think x

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Must have been a dream then.