"An annoying fly" - this phrase is familiar to everyone. As soon as we hear its unpleasant buzzing, the first thing that occurs to us is to immediately find a fly swatter, or at worst a regular folded magazine in order to swat it as quickly as possible. However, our "hunt" is not always successful. Showing some incredible flair, the insect leaves the "landing site" literally an instant before the fatal blow.
A group of scientists published in the journal Procceeding of the Royal Biological Sciences the results of research on the unique ability of flies from the subgroup Calyptratae (which includes houseflies Musca domestica) to avoid danger.
Supermaneuverability and flight speed of flies are provided by "modified" hind wings, which have evolved into tiny processes. During flight, they vibrate, helping the insects to stabilize the body. Information about every change in body position is immediately transmitted to the wings.
The research involved high-speed cameras capable of shooting at 3000 frames per second. The test subjects were flies of several species at once. As it turned out, the Calyptratae flies reacted to the danger five times faster than their counterparts of other species - it took them only 0.007 seconds to take off and just one flap of their wings.
At the next stage, the experimental flies were injected with anesthetics and removed the genitals. As a result, Calyptratae began to spend significantly more time taking off, while in flies of other species this indicator remained at the same level. And when the wing processes were removed, Calyptrae's stability was impaired during takeoff.
However, even in spite of this, the flies have truly fantastic maneuverability, which the best modern fighters cannot reach. So, fruit flies are able to change the direction of flight in just 1 / 100th of a second, that is, 50 times faster than the human eye can blink.
And flies also have excellent eyesight, with the help of which they build their "shockproof" maneuvers. An article published in 2008 in the journal Current Biology reported that fruit flies, upon receiving a visual warning of danger, assume a specific posture approximately 200 milliseconds before take-off and accurately plot their flight path to a safe point.