The Inside Out of Flies is a look under the bonnet at the astonishing mechanics of fly anatomy. Erica McAlister reveals the engineering miracles embodied in each species of fly and some of the fascinating implications they hold for human technology.
Discover the physics of the mysterious 'scuba diving fly', marvel at the venomous horsefly larvae which prey on frogs, and glimpse the golden ratio in these creatures' spiral flight patterns. McAlister touches on the emerging field of biomimetics – the study of evolutionary adaptations to devise new technology – and anticipates everything from medical needles based on the mosquito's proboscis to hearing aids inspired by Ormia ochracea, a tiny fly with ears on its thorax.
At every juncture she uncovers unique and surprising science lessons encapsulated in the form and function of the humble fly.
Erica McAlister is Curator of Diptera at the Natural History Museum, London. She has studied in France, Australia and Costa Rica and her work with diptera has taken her all around the world. She presented the popular BBC Radio 4 series Who’s the Pest? and has previously authored The Secret Life of Flies.