urbpan: (dandelion)
 photo IMGP3604_zpsi7zcash5.jpg
I was called up to see a tree up in a non-public part of the zoo, which (the thought was) might have a hornet's nest in it. A hornet's nest in a tree is pretty obvious--either it's a big gray paper football, or it's hidden in a big dead cavity in the tree. This was a pretty small elm, with no big holes, no big paper nests, but plenty of wasps and hornets on and around it. However, there were other insects involved as well, such as this Calliphorid carrion fly.

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urbpan: (Maggots)

Photos by [livejournal.com profile] urbpan. A fastidious little animal cleans up, after being manhandled in a plastic bag to be photographed.

Urban species #238: Housefly Musca domestica

Like other animals with the common name "house-" or the scientific name "domestica," the housefly is found almost exclusively in and around buildings. Where the housefly lived before there were houses (or more importantly, stables) is lost in prehistory; houseflies have lived alongside humans since before we kept track of such things. It was known to live among us when it was first given a scientific name by Linnaeus in 1758. They may originally be from Africa, but in any case seem to be tropical animals; As with some other tropical animals, like American cockroaches, they survive in the artificial tropics that we provide in our heated buildings. Houseflies are omnivorous scavengers, feeding on anything moist and organic. Their mouthparts are not built for chewing, but rather for mopping up. Most food is not moppable, so they vomit their digestive juices onto what they want to eat, transferring bacteria from the last thing they ate. In some places, such as poultry houses and crowded tropics, they are serious disease vectors. Their eggs are laid in food sources, which in rare cases includes open wounds. More often their young are found having hatched in particularly ripe garbage. Baby flies are an indication that the trash needs to be taken out more often.

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