You lot – yes, you lot over there, pouring all over the cute cat and puppy pictures on the internet? All those bloody memes? Have you ever stopped to think that there was more to fawning over cute and cuddly mammals? Have you ever considered diverting at least some of your attention in the direction of the poor, neglected invertebrates?
Erin McAlister’s book ‘The Secret Life of Flies’ is like an Evangelist’s pamphlet for Diptera. She’s here to tell you fly stories, and hopefully, by the end of it, you too will be convinced that these little guys, in their near ubiquity and miscellany, are well and truly worthy of your consideration. If the gentle humour of her writing doesn’t draw you in, surely the photography will.
Flies often get a bad rap, and in some ways, it’s easy to understand; people don’t appreciate them hovering around the fruit bowl, bot fly larvae are difficult to love, and no one enjoys tangling with mosquito-borne diseases. But the genus Diptera is so full of diversity that there’s got to be something for everyone. Like chocolate? You should probably thank the chocolate midge – they pollinate cocoa trees. Do you like cute? The grey bee fly is frigging fluffy and adorable. Pretty? Your regular old blowfly is actually very photogenic – if you catch them at the right angle.
The book is split based on fly lifestyles. If you’re a bit on the squeamish side, then you’re more then welcome to jump over to the chapters on pollinators and vegetarians. But if you have a more morbid taste in curiosity, you can flick right over to the blood-suckers (yay, mozzies) or the necrophages. There’s a little something for everyone
Even if the author’s best attempts at sharing the fly love don’t quite work for you, you’ll walk away from this book with so many random and fascinating facts that you’re sure to be a real winner come Pub Trivia night. And hopefully, it might make you a little less eager to grab a can of Mortein next time a fly buzzes by*.
And screeching in just before the deadline, this is my last bingo square – Cover Art. (I forgot diagonals count as a bingo too) I carried this book halfway across the world so I would have at least a small volume to leave on my coffee table. It’s just pleasant to look at.
*Leave the incapacitating of flies with neurotoxins to the professionals
And by that, I mean me. I am that professional.