Dermatobia Redux

Raising two dipteran children was an interesting experience. It was embarrassing on a few occasions, when both of my arms started bleeding profusely in public; painful at times, to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night; and inconvenient during the last stages of the flies’ development, when I had to…

Puppy-killing scientist smuggles rainforest babies in body cavity

I almost got away with it – for five days I had covered my body and slathered insect repellant onto my skin with an almost religious zeal, but on the last day I faltered. I was in Belize, teaching macrophotography at the Bugshot workshop. The course was almost over, and so I relaxed and decided to…

Mozambique Diary: Not all flies fly

After a long hike in the scorching heat of the African savanna the cool, shady patch of tall miombo forest looked like heaven to us. I was in the southern part of Gorongosa, looking with a few friends for some elusive species of arthropods. But we were having little luck finding any and after several…

My crumbling beliefs

I always assumed that there existed at least a few immutable truths about the natural world, dogmas that had no exceptions, no matter how hard you looked for them. One of them, I thought, was the rule that flies, which cartoons and children books made me believe were the favorite food of frogs, should be…

There is a fly in my car

“Honey, what died in my car?” I called my wife a few days ago, after the stench had become overwhelming. For a few days after returning from a long trip to Mozambique I had tried to pretend that the god-awful smell in my car was just a figment of my imagination. Alas, opening windows or…

Stalk-eyed flies

I really don’t like when organisms that deviate from our narrow, anthropocentric perception of the natural world are described as “bizarre” but, let’s face it, flies of the family Diopsidae sure look that way. They are hypercephalic, which means that their head is extremely expanded in a way that places both their eyes and the…