The Secret Life of Flies


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The Secret Life of Flies Author: Format: Paperback / softback First Published: Published By: The Natural History Museum Pages: 248 Illustrations and other contents: 80 colour photographs and illustrations Language: English ISBN: 9780565094751 Categories: , ,

Enter a hidden world of snail killers, silly names and crazy sex in The Secret Life of Flies. Entomolologist Erica McAlister dispels many common misconceptions and reveals how truly amazing, exotic and important these creatures really are. From hungry herbivores and precocious pollinators to robberflies, danceflies and the much maligned mosquito, McAlister describes the different types of fly, their unique and often unusual characteristics, and the unpredictable nature of their daily life. She travels from the drawers of wonder at the Natural History Museum, to piles of poo in Ethiopia, via underground caves, smelly latrines and the English country garden. She discovers flies without wings, 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.

Weight0.32955 kg


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`A short, rich book by turns informative and humorous... a hymn of praise to her favorite creatures and a gleeful attempt to give readers the willies.' New York Times `What really makes the book so engrossing is the weird and let's be frank occasionally horrifying behaviours that flies exhibit. The most compelling parts of McAlister's book are gruesome tales...after reading her book it is obvious: flies rock.' The Spectator `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.' Book of the Month - BBC Wildlife `Pure delight. McAlister tells fly stories with such affection and familiarity that it seems as if she is sharing secrets about her own raucous extended family full of bizarre, outrageous, and sometimes slightly evil characters.The Secret Life of Flies humorously and poetically illustrates that flies are far more than the pesky creatures we swat as they hover over our fruit bowls or bite our ankles.' American Entomologist

Author Biography

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?