House Fly
Musca domestica
Family Muscidae

* Black and hairy, with red eyes.
* Wings translucent, covering most of the fly's body and giving it a roughly triangular shape.
* Often seen rubbing front pair of legs together.
* Body length: 1/4-1/2".

Natural History:
* Habitat: Houses, farm yards; breeds in and feeds on excrement and other waste.
* Range: Throughout North America.
* Native.

* House flies are incredibly annoying, with a maddening, unending buzz and a way of just being out of swatting distance. They don't bite; instead, they spit digestive juices on human skin and other, less attractive, substances, and use their sponging mouth parts to suck the juices back up, obtaining some nutrients in the process. What they really love, instead of human blood, is sugar and filth.

* Artistically, house flies have been immortalized in the trompe l'oeil paintings of the fifteenth century. Trompe l'oeil, literally "trick of the eye" was an ultra-realistic style of painting meant to fool the viewer. Painters like Peter Christus, Carlo Crivelli, and Il Vechietto painted incredibly life-like flies on landscapes and still lives, making it look as if the fly had just stopped to rest on the painting. Imagine the frustrations of museum guards as they attempted, over and over, to brush those nonexistent flies away!


Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005