They’re smarter than you think


Scientists from the University of Cambridge have studied the intelligence of flies

Janire Manzanas

  • Janire Manzanas
  • Graduate in Marketing and Digital Marketing Expert. Editor OK Diario. Expert on curiosities, pets, consumption and the Christmas lottery.

Outside adviсe experts, to keep them away, of particular interest are some data on flies. Fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime and complete their life cycle in about a week. House flies are also prolific, with a female capable of laying up to 500 eggs in just three to four days. On the other hand, due to their habit of feeding on feces, garbage, and decaying food, flies can transmit more than 65 diseases to humans, including dysentery, cholera, and typhoid fever.

It should be noted that they do not have the ability to chew. Instead, they spit out enzymes that dissolve solid food into liquids that they can consume. Likewise, some species, such as midges, are important pollinators of plants such as cocoa, which depend on them for reproduction. Finally, tree flywhich can reach 8 centimeters in length, is the largest known fly native to the regions of Central and South America.

Intelligence of flies

A recent study conducted scientists from Cambridge University has made surprising discoveries about the brains of fruit flies that challenge the idea that certain neural characteristics are unique to humans and other primates. Research by Elizabeth Barsotti and her team at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology has identified repetitive neural connections in the insects’ brains that are involved in learning and memory.

Traditionally these abilities have been thought to be the hallmarks of human brainbut the discovery suggests that fruit flies may have more advanced cognitive abilities than previously thought. This advance not only redefines our understanding of insect intelligence, but also has important implications for fields such as neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

The research involved an extensive process of analyzing and mapping the brains of fruit flies, using high-resolution electron microscopes to produce detailed images. By cutting the brain into ultra-thin slices and injecting them with heavy metals to create visual contrasts, the researchers were able to study half a million synaptic sites and map 3016 neurons with synaptic resolution.

This approach not only revealed the complexity flying brainbut also laid the groundwork for future studies that could examine brain structures in other animals, such as lizards, to better understand the evolution of these cognitive characteristics across species.

Despite advances, the cost and technological complexity of brain mapping remain significant. However, the team is working on innovations that will make these technologies more accessible, such as development of robots which facilitate the acquisition and processing of brain images. These efforts have the potential to democratize access to cutting-edge neuroscience tools and pave the way for future discoveries in animal intelligence.

Interesting facts about these insects

Throughout history, flies have been revered by various cultures, including the Egyptians, where they were considered symbols courage and resistanceTheir physical adaptations, such as compound eyes and taste buds on their feet, demonstrate their ability to adapt to a variety of environments and food resources.

Flies have a remarkable feature that allows them to “try the food using your legs. At the ends of their legs, especially the tarsi (the most distal parts of the legs), they have what are called “taste pupils.”

molecular motors which allow flies to flap their wings have an impressive energy efficiency of up to 40%. This curious fact suggests that it would take about 200 million flies to pull out a car.

Flies have excellent visual reaction speed, processing up to 250 images per second, compared to about 60 images per second that our human brain processes. In addition, its paws have sticky pads that allow it to walk on smooth surfaces.

Their eyes are made up of thousands of individual units called ommatidia, which act like small sensory lensesThese ommatidia are arranged in a circle around the flies’ eyes, giving them a 360-degree field of vision.

fruit flies They can fly amazing distances relative to their size. In one flight, they can travel up to 15 kilometers, which is about six million times their body length. This greatly exceeds the distances that some species of migratory birds can fly in a day.

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