Walking On the Ceiling

Microscopy of a blow fly tarsus Left:  Terminal Tarsal Segment showing Claw and pulvilli (p)  Middle:  Tenant hairs of the pulvil magnified Right:  Higher magnification of a spatulate tip of a tenant hair. Image: Walker & Colleagues*

Microscopy of a blow fly tarsus
Left: Terminal Tarsal Segment showing Claw and pulvilli (p)
Middle: Tenant hairs of the pulvil magnified
Right: Higher magnification of a spatulate tip of a tenant hair.
Image: Walker & Colleagues*

Flies are noted for their ability to land and attach to smooth surfaces such as glass. The pads or pulvilli (p) on the ends of the legs give the fly its grip. Pulvilli have rows of tenant hairs with a spatulate tip, lubricated with a lipid. When pressed against a surface, the lipid creates a strong grip between the spatulate tips of the hairs and the surface. Flies walking on glass will leave tiny droplets of lipid (fly specks) where they walk.

G. WALKER, A.B. YULEAND, J. RATCLIFFE. 1985. The adhesive organ of the blowfly, Calliphora vomitoria:
a functional approach (Diptera: Calliphoridae). J. Zool., Lond. ( A ) 205:297-307

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s