The Secret Life of Flies

The Secret Life of Flies

4.12 (24 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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In The Secret Life of Flies entomologist Erica McAlister gets under the wings of these crucial creatures as she adventures into the land of the fly. From hungry herbivores and precocious pollinators to robber flies, dance flies and the much maligned mosquito, she describes the different types of fly, their unique and often unusual characteristics, and the unpredictable nature of their daily life.Erica travels from the drawers of wonder at the Natural History Museum, London to the mountains of Peru, via underground caves, smelly latrines and the English country garden. She discovers flies without wings, eyes on stalks, rotating genitalia and the terrible hairy fly, while pausing along the way to consider today's key issues of conservation, taxonomy, forensic entomology and climate change.Combining her deep knowledge and love of flies with a wonderful knack for storytelling, Erica McAlister allows us to peer - amazed and captivated - into the secret life of flies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 130 x 195 x 23mm | 450g
  • The Natural History Museum
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 96
  • 0565093363
  • 9780565093365
  • 68,023

Review quote

'What really makes the book so engrossing is the weird and - let's be frank - occasionally horrifying behaviours that flies exhibit. There are flies that can eat raw oil and asphalt; others that can survive under the sea, or 5,700 feet down at the bottom of Lake Baikal; and there are even flies in Antarctica, where a quarter-inch midge represents the largest terrestrial animal on the entire continent... The most compelling parts of McAlister's book are gruesome tales... after reading her book it is obvious: flies rock.' The Spectator; 'That flies have secret lives will come as no surprise... And yet among them are marvels of peculiar form and bizarre behaviour. I would love to find antler flies sparring; or a bat fly 'swimming' through the fur of its host; or a giant Texan robberfly feeding on a hummingbird. Instead, if I can keep up with Erica's infectious verve, I will vicariously drink down her rich enthusiasm. I'll need a tough stomach, though.' Book of the month, BBC Wildlife
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About Erica McAlister

Erica McAlister is a curator of Diptera at the Natural History Museum, London. All through her life Erica has been interested in the little things - from her early fascination with decomposing cat spoils and their maggot fauna, to picking fleas off cats to watch them jumping under a microscope. Erica has studied in France, Australia and Costa Rica and her work with diptera has taken her all around the world. She was also a presenter on the popular BBC Radio 4 series Who's the Pest?.
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Rating details

24 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 33% (8)
4 54% (13)
3 4% (1)
2 8% (2)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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