A species of flies living in a Californian lake defies the laws of nature, as they don’t use their wings for flight. They have given up the air and chose living in water, which is quite an unusual behavior for a fly. In fact, they can breathe underwater without any problems, and can travel without even getting wet.
The diving flies can thrive underwater
Scientists have been baffled by these weird diving flies which live in Lake Mono, California. Therefore, they decided to start a study and find out how they can survive living in water and keep themselves dry. This is how they discovered that their body is covered in a water-repellent material which creates a bubble of air around them whenever they get into the water.
Now you might think that air bubbles can easily be taken over by water currents. The smart mechanism of the creatures thought about it as well, so their tiny feet have small claws which get them hooked on the bottom of the lake. This way, they have perfect control over where they travel and how they move.
The hairs they are covered in contains water-repellent wax
Usually, dropping an insect into water means instant death. Also, Lake Mono is not the friendliest place that such creatures might choose to dwell. The water has a high concentration of alkaline substances, and the amount of salt contained in it is three times higher than the one in the ocean. Even so, the weird diving flies can thrive in it without problems.
If the conditions of the lake are so harsh, it means that few other life forms live there. This also means there are few predators the flies have to fear, and can roam free and look for prey. The bubble formed around them leaves their eyes uncovered, so that they could see as they hunt.
In fact, this is the only area on their bodies not covered by hairs. These hairs contain a special wax, which is the one that repels water and forms the air bubble around the flies. By finding out more about this wax, researchers might soon find out how to use it in other fields outside of biology. The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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