Fly On Ceiling

Why Do Flies Sleep On The Ceiling?

Fly On CeilingYou probably have seen flies sleeping upside down from ceiling. This looks weird and confusing. They don’t fall from the ceiling even when they are asleep which is a marvel in itself.

But, why do flies sleep on ceiling? They do it to protect themselves from the predators. Not all animals or insects can reach the ceiling which gives them an advantage. Normally every living organisms becomes vulnerable while sleeping so finding a place where predators won’t be able to reach gives a massive benefit. 

Continue reading to know how they do it and other interesting things about flies.

Can Insects Sleep?

Fly Sleeping

Fly Sleeping On Ground. Completely Motionless.

Sleep is an integral part of our life and critical to the body. We know for sure that humans and animals need rest. But when a look falls on a fly buzzing on a windowpane, we are not so sure and often ask ourselves the question, “Are insects sleeping or not?”.

Yes, insects also need to sleep! The main “culprits” of sleep in insects is the presence of their central nervous system. Of course, this does not mean that the housefly, before flying around the house, suddenly lies on a barrel and falls asleep for six hours. Her appearance will look a little different: for some time, the insect will sit motionless on a table, wall, or even on the ceiling. And you won’t even think that at this time a small insect is sleeping.

The fact is that every living creature has a different dream: a person, for example, can only sleep lying down, giraffes and elephants sleep standing up, and bats are generally upside down. Also, the duration of sleep for all living things is entirely different: the same giraffe sleeps only 2 hours a day, and the bat sleeps all 20.

In insects, the duration of sleep also varies from a few minutes to several hours, while the same fly can sleep even on the wall or ceiling. But there is something that unites the dream of all living beings – this is a slow reaction to external stimuli.

If scientists have the opportunity to connect sensors of brain activity to a large animal or person and determine when the creature is sleeping, then in the case of insects, it remains only to monitor their behavior and reaction to external influences. This is how two independent groups of scientists from the Institute of Neurology in California and the University of Pennsylvania proved that insects could also sleep.

The experiment was conducted on fruit flies and consisted of the fact that during the night, one container with insects was shaken continuously, preventing the flies from sitting in place. The other box was not exposed, and the insects led a healthy life.

After a sleepless night, scientists finally left the first container alone, and the flies inside immediately decreased activity. At the same time, when shaking the jar, the insects did not react quickly, but with some delay – as if to shake a sleeping person on the shoulder, then he would not wake up immediately.

How Do Insects See In The Dark?

On a dark moonless night, illumination can be thousands of times lower than in the daytime. But while we sleep in our beds, most living things begin the active phase of the day. How do they manage to navigate in total darkness? As an example, let’s take nocturnal insects – the size of their visual organs often does not exceed the match head. Still, they orient themselves perfectly in terrain in dim light, cleverly avoid obstacles, and even detect weak movements around.

Imagine that you found yourself at night in a tropical forest under the crowns of which the light of the moon and stars does not penetrate. It will seem to you that there is not even a single light source around. But this will be true only for our imperfect visual apparatus – in fact, space around will be filled with single photons. For the human eye, their number will be not enough to get at least a dim picture of the world.

However, the organs of vision of nocturnal insects and animals are much more sensitive. For example, the eyes of a hot night bee of the Megaloptera generalist species absorb only a few photons, but this is enough to navigate in a tangled and dense tropical forest even when the light levels are at extremely low values. Similar behavior is also characteristic of the nocturnal European butterfly of the species Deilephia elpenor from the hawthorn family. This would not have been possible without certain tricks on the part of the insect.

Why Are Flies Dangerous To Humans?

Some insects are carriers of diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid fever, cholera, tuberculosis, anthrax, polio, and diphtheria. Among the species of pests, the most famous is the Hessian fly. Outwardly, she looks like a mosquito, because one of her names is a bread mosquito.

Its larvae are capable of destroying cereals; in particular, they love rye and wheat. The attacks of the bread mosquito used to lead to starvation in entire countries. The competition for this pest is cabbage fly – an incredibly gluttonous species.

The larvae of this insect completely eat cruciferous. One of the most interesting species of predatory flies is pushers. The rules of their mating games are surprising: for some time flies dance in the air. Representatives of the stronger sex fly up to the females with a present – a neatly packed fly. If the lady did not like the present, the unlucky boyfriend could easily bite off her head. Everything is like people.

Why Doesn’t The Fly Fall From The Ceiling?

fly doesn't fall from ceilingIt used to be thought that the thinnest hairs on the paws help them to fly, with which they cling to the slightest bumps on the surface of the ceiling.

But when powerful microscopes appeared, a thousand-fold increase showed that the matter was not in the hairs, but in the tiny pads-glands that secrete droplets of adhesive substance. Only enough glue stands out so that the fly has the strength to tear off the foot from the surface when it is needed. Its small mass helps even a thin layer of matter to hold it.

Do Flies Sleep?

Scientists studied the brain of flies, recording their brain activity and response to various stimuli. As a result, it turned out that the brain of flies can be in the phase of fast (REM) or slow (non-REM) sleep. It turns out that even a primitive insect has various brain functions that can solve complex problems.

It is believed that one of the functions of slow sleep is to slow down synaptic connections in the brain, which allows you to absorb the information received per day and at the same time, reduce energy consumption. Indeed, if flies were intensively taught something during the day, then they entered the phase of slow sleep. When scientists changed the protein responsible for slowing down synaptic connections, the flies slept deeply, even during the day.

At first glance, the study of sleep in flies is of little use, but it is the most important scientific work. Scientists now know that flies can be a valuable model organism for studying human brain functions. In this regard, there are already the first useful discoveries. In particular, a deep understanding of sleep processes in flies allows us to study the essential features of anesthesia.

Thus, the brain circuits that promote sleep in flies are essential for regulating sensitivity to the isoflurane drug, often used for anesthesia. An increase in the activity of the genes responsible for flies for sleep led to the fact that flies increased sensitivity to anesthesia and vice versa. In other words, the flies that slept longer and harder, quickly “turned off” after the introduction of anesthesia, while the flies that slept less became resistant to anesthesia.

Why Do Flies Sleep On Ceiling?

Flies don’t live long. When sleeping at night, like other insects, flies hang to the ceiling or underneath of leaves until daylight. Flies do not come up until there is a rise in air temperature that makes them to come in full action and activity. Insects can perform if the temperature of air is warm for their metabolism to work precisely.

When it is too cold during the night, flies become lazy and slow down their activities. Flies have a significant advantage in defeating the force of gravity. They are capable of attaching to the ceiling in a way that they seem to look upside down. Since no other living organism has this creation advantage, they use it as an advantage to stay away from their predictors. Sleeping on the ceiling makes flies feel safer!

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