Summary: Flies feed on liquid diets which includes animal carcasses, animal feces, decaying fruits, decaying vegetables, meat, nectar and plant secretions. House flies feed on animal feces, decaying fruits, decaying vegetables and sweet liquids. Fruits flies feed on fermented, decaying fruits, greens and sugary liquids. Blow flies feed on decaying meat and animal carcasses.
Whatever your opinion on flies is, you have to admit that while these insects may be pests, their existence is quite remarkable. You are probably familiar with the common types of flies such as the housefly, but you may not know that there are a lot of kinds of flies in the world! With billions of each kind of fly in the world, you may wonder what they eat in order to survive. Food intake for flies varies among different species, but some of the food sources for flies tend to overlap. If you are interested in learning more about what flies eat, read on for some interesting information.
A flesh fly, probably Sarcophaga nodosa feeding on decaying flesh. © Muhammad Mahdi Karim.
The house fly
The housefly is the fly that you are probably most familiar with. They are usually unwanted pests, and they can cause some issues in the home if a large population of flies enters one’s house. For food, houseflies rely on their tiny mouths to get food. Scientists have compared the fly’s mouth to a sponge because their mouths absorb whatever food is near by. Once absorbed by the mouth, the fly uses its tiny tongue to help swallow the food.
They need liquid food
A Sarcophaga bercaea, a.k.a. flesh fly, feeding on animal feces. © Muhammad Mahdi Karim.
An important fact to realize is that because flies have such tiny mouths and tongues, they must turn their food into liquid before they can digest it. They are typically drawn to liquid waste, but they can turn solid food into liquid by saturating it. Their food may not seem particularly appealing to humans, but flies depend upon easy sources.
Fruit flies and other flies
Most species of flies prefer waste and pet waste for food. Some species, like the fruit fly, are a little different. Fruit flies actually get their name from the food they eat. It is easy to identify fruit flies because they are often seen flying around decaying fruits and/or vegetables. Fruit flies land on the fruit and behave similarly to the common housefly by absorbing the juice of the dying fruit through their mouths.
Continue reading: Mosquitoes are flies. What do they feed on other than blood?
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