We often associate flies with dirty places and decomposed matter, but they follow a rigorous hygiene and grooming regimen. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why flies rub their hands together.
While rubbing their legs and “hands” together may seem unhygienic, it’s actually an important part of their cleaning process. The rubbing helps them remove any physical or chemical debris on their feet and antennae.
Flies are self-groomers
If you’ve ever watched a fly rub its “hands” together, you may have wondered why it does so. While this behavior seems creepy, it serves an important purpose. This behavior is a form of grooming, as well as a way for flies to communicate with each other.
While you might think that rubbing hands is a sign of aggression, this is not the case for flies. In fact, it’s a form of communication that helps them communicate with other flies about food sources or mates in the area. It also helps them clean their taste receptors, which help them smell and taste food. Flies are extremely clean creatures, and they need to be in order to sense their surroundings.
The rubbing of their legs, hands and heads produces vibrations that help flies clean themselves. This helps them avoid contaminating their sensitive taste receptors, which are located all over their bodies, including their wings and hind legs. These sensors help flies to sense their surroundings, as well as the presence of potential predators and prey in the area. Without these sensors, flies would be lost.
In order to keep their sensory systems clean, flies use a series of grooming movements that are executed in a patterned sequence. By coating the flies in dust and observing how they cleaned themselves, researchers found that certain body parts were favored over others, and the rubbing of these body parts was followed by specific movements. While this pattern was favored, the scientists observed that individual flies occasionally strayed from the preferred sequence.
Primoz Ravbar and Brett Mensh, postdoctoral researchers in Simpson’s lab, used computer models to try to understand why these flies were performing the grooming sequences they did. They found that the neurons that control the flies’ grooming movements might be organized in such a way as to allow early cleaning motions to suppress subsequent ones, which is similar to the mechanism that drives some sequential behaviors, like bird song. They also speculated that the head might be better at sensing dust, so flies were more likely to wipe it down first, and then move on to other body parts.
They clean themselves more than we do
If you’ve ever watched a fly land on a surface and rub its creepy little claw-things together, you probably wondered why it was doing that. This is a behavior that most people think of as villainous, but it is actually quite important to the fly’s survival. Fly’s have legs that look like hands and are used for a number of things, including cleaning, tasting food (by licking), smelling odors, grooming, communicating with other flies, and cooling down.
If a fly’s legs get dirty, they can no longer sense the odors of food, mates, and danger in their environment. Dirty legs also affect a fly’s ability to fly and find food. Flies clean themselves by rubbing their legs together, which removes dirt particles and other chemicals from the tiny hairs that cover the fly’s body. This grooming helps keep the bristles on their legs and other body parts healthy, which is essential to their survival.
Flies also rub their feet, which contain taste buds that help them taste the surfaces they land on and walk across. When a fly lands on something that smells good, it licks its feet to make sure the taste buds are still working properly. If the taste buds aren’t working, the fly will not be able to find or taste food and will starve.
Another reason flies rub their hands and feet is that it helps them cool down. They need to be able to cool down their body because they expend a lot of energy flying, finding food, and mating. They can’t afford to burn all of that energy, so they try to cool themselves down by rubbing their hands and feet together.
Some flies are also known to rub their heads and eyes together to clean them. This is a way of removing excess moisture from the eyes and head, which can lead to infection or death in some flies. Flies’ eyes, heads, and other body parts are extremely important to their survival. Without them, a fly would not be able to fly, find food, or even smell or taste food.
They clean their taste receptors
Flies have taste receptors (chemonsensilla) all over their body, and rubbing them together helps clean them. Flies are known to eat all sorts of things, including animal feces and even our own lunch, but they are careful not to get any bacteria or other unpleasant substances on their taste buds. To prevent this, they rub their legs and wings against each other before consuming anything new.
Another reason flies rub their legs together is to remove tiny particles that have accumulated on them from the last object they touched. It’s just like when you walk around barefoot — even though you may be wearing slippers, there are still little bits of dirt and debris that stick to your feet. Flies are the same, and rubbing their legs helps clear them off before they touch something else.
Lastly, flies rub their legs and wings against each other to check the condition of these important parts of their bodies. This is especially true before they start flying, as the legs and wings are their primary means of movement and escape. They also help them communicate with other flies and sense the world around them. By rubbing their legs and wings, flies can tell how well they are suited for these tasks and if any parts of their body need to be cleaned or repaired.
In addition to checking the condition of their limbs, flies rub their legs and wings together to help them find their way around. They are very curious creatures, and they use their senses to explore everything they can see and smell. When they are exploring a new environment, they can hear other flies’ voices and their own wingbeats. They can also feel the vibrations of their wingbeats, which helps them fly around quickly and not crash into walls or other objects. In addition to detecting obstacles, this method of navigation can also help flies stay warm in cold weather. Flies have strong instinctive drives and amazingly sensitive senses, so they can often seem to be acting at random. However, this is not because they are intentionally trying to reach a specific goal; rather, they are reacting in real time to the smells, light patterns, air movements, humidity, and their own internal state.
They clean their eyes
Flies are a lot like us when it comes to self-grooming. They rub their hands (they don’t actually have hands) together frequently, and they also rub their eyes. While this gesture may look villainous, it is actually an act of self-care. This behavior serves multiple purposes, including cleaning, sensing smells, tasting food, and even communicating with other flies. It is, in fact, a matter of life or death for flies, and this self-grooming is one of their most important habits.
While rubbing their legs or hands may seem counterintuitive for these creatures, it makes sense from a biological standpoint. Flies come into contact with all sorts of bacteria and dirt on a daily basis, so they need to be clean in order to function properly. This self-grooming ensures that they don’t have any physical or chemical residues on their body, which can interfere with their sensors. These sensors are incredibly important, as they help them land on a surface and determine whether or not it is safe for them to eat.
Additionally, rubbing their legs and hands helps them prepare for flight by clearing out any debris that has built up on their bodies. This will make it easier for them to navigate around indoors and outdoors without crashing into walls or windows, as well as prevent them from freezing up in cold weather.
In addition to cleaning, rubbing their hands and legs also helps flies get rid of any bacteria or contaminants that they pick up on their legs while walking through their environment. The tiny particles of everything they touch can stack up on their feet, so it is crucial for flies to keep them clean. They are, after all, able to taste food through their feet!
In addition to these reasons, flies also rub their legs and hands to communicate with other flies. They can communicate with other flies through vibrations and even exchange information about potential food sources. This allows them to hone their hunting skills and avoid competing with each other for resources. This is why you’re likely to see a fly congregating in large groups of flies when they are rubbing their hands together.