Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why do flies suck more blood than is good for them?

[Image taken from here]

This is a totally idle philosophical speculation, but well, I am a philosophy teacher by profession, so I can't help having these thoughts at least some of the time. And since I also blog, these thoughts also find their way on this blog from time to time.

My fiancee and I were sitting in this coffee-shop a couple of hours ago. A fly flew to her, landed on various places on her body, and started sucking her blood (or whatever it is that flies suck) for breakfast. She tried a few times to swat the fly, but wasn't successful; as most of you know, flies have very quick reflexes, and are able to react very quickly to even the slightest movement in their immediate environment. However, a few minutes later, this same fly landed on another part of her body. She waited a couple of moments for the fly to be comfortably settled in its feeding position, and then swat! she pulverized the fly with her palm (I'll spare you the grisly details of what the remains of the fly looked like...).

I'm guessing the fly probably sucked more blood (or whatever) than it should be sucking in order to remain fast-moving and alert; quite possibly, the excessive amount of food in its body caused it to become more sluggish and slower to react, thus making it easy prey for a fly-swat or a human hand.

Which made me think: If flies had some kind of ancestral survival manual--a holy bible of sorts, complied by illustrious flies and passed down from generation to generation--one of the first injunctions of the manual would probably be: "Thou shalt not ingest too much blood (or whatever) at one sitting, on pain of being swatted." But of course, flies being what they are, they have not evolved to the point where they have enough brain capacity/long-term memory to be able to come up with such a manual. Wouldn't it be scary if they could do something like this, though? Imagine if some crazy scientist somewhere were to genetically engineer flies so as to create a race of super-flies that are capable of something like this? Maybe these super-flies would be the newest biological weapon (putting them somewhere to infect enemy combatants with deadly diseases)? Scary, don't you think?

Well, none of the thoughts in this post have anything to do with yoga, really. These are just some stray musings of a sometimes-philosophical mind :-) 


  1. Heyyy.. We have all sorts of "manuals" and rule books and keep choosing the same mistakes! The manual on tequila or bourbon alone...:-D

  2. Yes, that is true, sereneflavor. It's not always clear if having a manual (and having the ability to read it) is all that helpful :-)