The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Flies and closed windows.  (Read 14080 times)

paul.fr

  • Guest
Flies and closed windows.
« on: 05/07/2007 15:20:02 »
We have all witnessed it, one window open the other closed. Does anyone have a theory why the fly always tries to get out of the closed window?


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Flies and closed windows.
« Reply #1 on: 05/07/2007 15:21:21 »
Stupidity? Face it, look at what they eat. That doesn't say much for their brainpower, does it!
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Flies and closed windows.
« Reply #2 on: 06/07/2007 01:14:18 »
We have all witnessed it, one window open the other closed. Does anyone have a theory why the fly always tries to get out of the closed window?

Firstly, the fly is not really trying to get out of anywhere - I doubt the fly is actually aware it is in a room, or that it has any reason to wish to get out of it.

Secondly, are you sure that the flies do (in the first instance - which I will explain later) more often fly against a closed window than an open window.  What I mean by 'in the first instance', is that a fly flying against an open window, will quickly exit, and will be lost from sight.  A fly doing the same thing against a closed window, will not exit the room, and so it it continues to repeat the same flight pattern, will more likely come to your notice.  It does not mean that more flies will initially decide to fly against the closed window, only that once they start flying against one window or the other, the one's flying against ad oipen window will quickly be lost from sight.

In cooler weather, I see no reason that a fly would wish to fly out into the cold outside.  On the other hand, it may be that the fly is attracted by the light coming through a closed window (that does not let in the cold), or may be attracted by the condensation on the window, or the particular air currents around the window.

As far as I am aware, unlike bees, ants, or wasps; flies do not have a home to go to; and the inside of a house is probably a better source of warmth and food than anything the outside world has to offer.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Flies and closed windows.
« Reply #3 on: 06/07/2007 07:05:54 »

Firstly, the fly is not really trying to get out of anywhere - I doubt the fly is actually aware it is in a room, or that it has any reason to wish to get out of it.


Interesting, how would you describe a flies sense of awareness?

Secondly, are you sure that the flies do (in the first instance - which I will explain later) more often fly against a closed window than an open window.  What I mean by 'in the first instance', is that a fly flying against an open window, will quickly exit, and will be lost from sight.  A fly doing the same thing against a closed window, will not exit the room, and so it it continues to repeat the same flight pattern, will more likely come to your notice.  It does not mean that more flies will initially decide to fly against the closed window, only that once they start flying against one window or the other, the one's flying against ad oipen window will quickly be lost from sight.

In cooler weather, I see no reason that a fly would wish to fly out into the cold outside.  On the other hand, it may be that the fly is attracted by the light coming through a closed window (that does not let in the cold), or may be attracted by the condensation on the window, or the particular air currents around the window.

As far as I am aware, unlike bees, ants, or wasps; flies do not have a home to go to; and the inside of a house is probably a better source of warmth and food than anything the outside world has to offer.

strangely i do notice all flies and flying insects that come to visit. Anastasia has a thing about flies, so all flies are noticed. I have yet to see a fly go straight out the open window, they always buzz around going up and down the closed window "as if" they are trying to get out. I just find this curious. I do notice this with wasps and bees, being allergic to wasps i tend to take great notice when they are around.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Flies and closed windows.
« Reply #4 on: 08/07/2007 23:33:06 »

Firstly, the fly is not really trying to get out of anywhere - I doubt the fly is actually aware it is in a room, or that it has any reason to wish to get out of it.


Interesting, how would you describe a flies sense of awareness?

I will try and make a guess, but maybe others can maybe have a better understanding of the physiology of a fly (where is MayoFlyFarmer when you need him?).

The animal is small - so the average room to a fly would be like a massive open space, maybe the size of a Kansas farm.

The fly has compound eyes.  Good at detecting movement, but no stereoscopic vision - it really does not know very much about distance through sight, and probably cannot really imagine the idea of a large flat transparent surface (we can see dirt on the glass, and extrapolate the transparent bits between - a fly cannot).

The fly will have a good sense of smell, so can follow the smell of food, or the pheromones of another fly - this will be maybe more important than what things look like - a fly only uses sight really as an alert for danger - something large and moving fast across its field of view is probably trouble.  Besides that, if it smells good, then follow the smell.

Many insects can detect the polarisation of light (in order top detect the direction of the Sun in the sky, and so navigate).  I don't know if flies have this capability (although a glass window will effect the polarity of light passing through it - hence why, in photography, you can use polarising filters to either enhance or mitigate reflection in a window).
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Flies and closed windows.
« Reply #4 on: 08/07/2007 23:33:06 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums