Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Can flies see their feet?

  1. Dec 24, 2008 #1
    I have a pesky fly that keeps landing on my computer screen. I try wiggling the mouse pointer under him but it doesn't make him fly away. Does he not see the pointer or does he just not care?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2008 #2
    Awesome that a topic like this can stay open while the one I made is deleted. :rolleyes:

    I'm glad I didn't decide to contribute.
     
  4. Dec 24, 2008 #3

    Redbelly98

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    trib, how about an image of a sugar cube? I'm sure he'll be drawn to that. Once you have its attention, move the sugar over to the side of your monitor. He'll follow it there and stay out of the way!
     
  5. Dec 24, 2008 #4

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    An image of some doggy-do might work, too.
     
  6. Dec 24, 2008 #5
    Once, while in jail, Amarillo Slim bet the officers on duty that he could train a fly. He asked his guards to bring him two sugar cubes and bet with them on whether he could tell a fly which sugar cube to land on. He won every time. The trick: he would lick one of his finger tips and touch the cube he wanted it to land on with the moist finger to release the scent of the sugar.
     
  7. Dec 24, 2008 #6

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    So what you're saying is that he has to smear some real doggy-do in the corner of the monitor in order for that trick to work.

    None the less, the whole problem reminds me of mice and flies:

     
  8. Dec 24, 2008 #7
    That's not how flys eyes work. They see things based on relative motion, aka optic flow.

    If you want to kill a fly, the last thing you want to do is swat at it. The flies eyes measure optic flow. If your hand is rushing at it, the fly thinks its flying full speed towards a wall and will fly away. Instead, move your hand s-l-o-w-l-y towards the fly. I can usually get within three inches from it when its sitting there. Then once your 3inches away stop and hold your hand there for a few seconds so there is no motion. Then move your hand quickly and kill it. By then your hand is too close for the fly to react in time.

    Kills em every time.
     
  9. Dec 24, 2008 #8
    That's not very sanitary.

    Use a laser pointer. Focus it on it's eyes and after a few minutes, watch it spin!
     
  10. Dec 24, 2008 #9
    I saw a show on PBS about flies once and they had slow motion video of a fly taking off. they showed both voluntary take offs and swatting take offs. When a fly is getting swatted it goes into panic mode and sometimes does back flips or crashes into the floor it is hilarious. Their legs just automatically launch them when you swat at them no matter which direction they are pointed.
     
  11. Dec 24, 2008 #10

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My fly story: At one point as a kid I had a praying mantis. Being that I had to catch food for the little beast, I got quite good at catching flies. But my technique improved significantly when I learned from a then gossip story about Howard Hughes that you always swipe at a fly from the rear when trying to catch one. It worked.

    Allegedly, Hughes required that all flies be caught, and caught by hand. IIRC, [as the story goes] he even issued an instruction manual to his employees.
     
  12. Dec 24, 2008 #11
    Dunno but all but one of my fruit flies are dead! Theres plenty of eggs so I think I'll be ok but I'm not totally sure.
     
  13. Dec 24, 2008 #12
    At one time I had a Venus Fly trap. It would not close on a fly. Finally I dropped some raw hamburger into it; it closed then it died??

    This sounds like it should have a punch line ?? anyone??
     
  14. Dec 24, 2008 #13
    the moral to this story: When someone opens their fly keep the meat out of your mouth.
     
  15. Dec 24, 2008 #14

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Wow, that must have been one hell of a fly party.
     
  16. Dec 24, 2008 #15
    Yeah, they must know how to brew with that yeast that they were supposed to be eating...
     
  17. Dec 25, 2008 #16

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Obviously it was a vegetarian.
     
  18. Dec 25, 2008 #17
    Would that make it a cannibal?
     
  19. Dec 25, 2008 #18

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Yes, the swipe from the rear practically always works. You can then throw them into the wall as hard as you can. They're momentarily stunned so you can do whatever you want with them, but they'll eventually regain conciousness with no noticeable damage.

    You can even do this more than once. Wait for them to regain conciousness and throw them into the wall again. I'm not sure how many times you can do this and still have them regain conciousness, but at least 3 or 4 times.

    Best bet is to put them in a plastic vial and put them into the freezer. Once they thaw, they'll fly as well as they ever did. Once you've accumulated about a dozen, you superglue them to a paper airplane to provide powered flight.

    There is absolutley nothing strange or bizarre about doing this.
     
  20. Dec 25, 2008 #19
    I don't want a fly powered airplane. I would like a fly on a leash though. how long of a piece of thread do you think a fly could lift?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Can flies see their feet?
  1. Can you see IR? (Replies: 49)

  2. Can you see the stars? (Replies: 46)

  3. Can the Blind See ? (Replies: 1)

Loading...