Why Is It So Difficult To Swat Flies?

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Sitting outside on a warm evening sounds peaceful until the flies and mosquitoes arrive, at which point the swatting begins.

Despite having tiny eyes and a brain around one million times smaller than yours, flies are able to avoid nearly every swat. But how?

The ability of flies to evade swats with such speed and dexterity is attributable to their quick, sophisticated eyesight plus a few neurological oddities.

Some flies can see up to 250 flashes per second, which is almost four times the rate at which humans perceive flashes.

This rapid vision enables it to react swiftly to prey, obstacles, competition, and your swatting attempts.

They can also use nonvisual clues to strike, such as information from microscopic hairs on their body that detect changes in air currents when you move.

In addition to quickly detecting impending hazards, flies must be able to flee in a single second. This necessitates takeoff planning and fast flight movements.

Fruit flies, for example, change their posture one-fifth of a second before departure after visually recognizing a looming threat.

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