A fly on sugar crystals

Audio

Colour-enhanced scanning electron micrograph image of a housefly (Musca domestica) on sugar crystals by Dave McCarthy and Annie Cavanagh.

To eat the sugar the fly releases its enzyme-containing saliva onto it, lets it digest, then sucks it all back up. Houseflies are well known for carrying gastrointestinal diseases such as Salmonella and dysentery, but they can also spread tuberculosis, anthrax and other major illnesses through their habit of visiting decaying organic matter and faeces, as well as humans and their food. 

Listen to Dave McCarthy and Annie Cavanagh talking about their work.

 

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