Phil the Fly!
In early spring of 2012, a few days after the first thaw, Phil was born in a moist pile of horse bedding. His mom picked the best known spot for Phil and his 499 siblings to be born. Yes that’s right: The phrase "breeding like flies" isn't just a figure of speech. Each female fly can lay over 500 eggs during her life. Phil began as a tiny pearly-white egg. In just a few days he hatched into a legless, yellowish-white larva (maggot). Pesky little Phil wasted no time and he doubled in size in 2 days! After eating enough of the decaying material in the horse’s stall he wrapped up in a cocoon type shell (pupae ) where he morphed into a fly. A few days later he emerged ready to harass us all.
  • Gray
  • 1/4-inch tall
  • He has a scary looking, long, pointed snout, which he forces into the skin like a needle.
  • Huge eyes with 4,000 facets per eye! This allows Phil to see 360-degrees at a time and escape a fly swatter.
  • 2 wings - Flies are the only insects with only 2 wings!
  • Hairy! Phil is covered with small hairs that he uses to taste and smell.
Phil can beat his wings 200 times a second. That’s 3 times faster than a hummingbird! Phil’s average speed is 4.5 miles per hour. While that might not seem like much, you must consider how tiny Phil is. At that speed Phil can travel 300 times the length of his body in only one second! A jet travelling at the speed of sound only travels 100 times its length! Phil’s glue-oozing toe pads allow him to walk upside down on practically any surface. Phil can travel up to 70 miles from his home. And even more amazing, when exposed to cold temperatures or lack of food and moisture, the housefly's body can temporarily shut itself down in a process similar to hibernation.
Phil loves to eat! He doesn’t have any teeth so he can only eat liquids. But he can turn solids into liquids by spitting on it. Phil eats about one ounce of blood per day. He can completely swell up with food in only 5 minutes if nobody interrupts him. Phil likes to eat early in the morning and late in the afternoon. His favorite meal is blood from horse’s legs. He is not fussy though. He will eat crumbs, decaying garbage, and even feces. And don’t let Phil near your food! He steps all over what he is eating and when he flies to another location he takes some of it on his feet with him.


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