The Inside Out of Flies

Category: Book
By (author): McAlister, Erica
Subject:  NATURE / Animals / Insects & Spiders
Publisher: Firefly Books
Published: September 2020
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 288
Size: 8.00in x 5.00in x 1.00in
Our Price:
$ 24.95
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

About The Secret Life of Flies, also by the author:

"It's no small feat for an experienced researcher to write in a way that is accessible to a non-scientific audience, and McAlister accomplishes this.... A short, rich book by turns informative and humorous."
--The New York Times

"After reading her book it is obvious: flies rock."
--The Spectator

The Inside Out of Flies is an under-the-hood look 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.

Not only an expert at the top of her field, McAlister is a skilled writer who masterfully imparts knowledge while entertaining the reader with her enthusiasm and wit. Even those who would not consider reading about flies, will find themselves entertained and enlightened. This is an ideal selection for personal, public, academic and specialist libraries.

Review Quote*"Flies are not filthy . . . they are always cleaning themselves," notes entomologist Erica McAlister's caption for a photo of a fly maintaining its antennae -- one of many eye-popping images in her erudite, irresistible natural history of the insects. She agrees with naturalist Pliny, who wrote two millennia ago that insects display nature's "exhaustless ingenuity". Consider Ephydra hians, which "scuba-dives" in alkaline lakes -- using hydrophobic hairs that trap an air bubble like an external lung -- to lay its eggs on the lake bottom.
Biographical Note

Erica McAlister is Curator of Diptera (flies) 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 has presented the popular BBC Radio 4 series Who's the Pest? and participated in a New York Times, Science Facebook Live interview which has been viewed over 134,000 times. She lives in the UK.