19 November 2010

The beauty of blowflies

Blowflies — who among us thinks twice about them, other than as revolting, disease-carrying, sheep-molesting pests? Blowflies do have ways of life that appear disgusting to us, and they do annoy us ( fortunately not in the same way they annoy sheep). But do think again; think about what the world would be like without blowflies. Probably a festering mess of slowly rotting carrion, among other things. Think of all the things that eat adult and larval blowflies: spiders, birds, rove beetles, mantids, and so on: what would happen to them if blowflies suddenly vanished? Then think of some of the things blowflies evoke, mostly without our being conscious of the association — drowsy summer days, for example.

Finally, look closely at this photo. This is Calliphora stygia, the brown blowfly (our Australian neighbours, clearly more sensitive to the glory of living things, call it the eastern golden-haired blowfly). Tell me it's not beautiful.

 [19 November 2010, Canon 20D, 100 mm f2.8, ISO 200, 1/500s at f11, flash (strobe)]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Relatively Retiring said...

It also looks clean, glossy and polished - a gossamer-winged knight in shining armour.
Thank you for this eye-opening viewpoint.

butuki said...

Close-ups reveal things we would never have imagined. Insects and birds were my favorite manifestation of nature since I was a boy and I've always found insects extraordinarily beautiful. Today's photographic close up technology allows me to focus even more closely and see more beauty. I've always loved insects' eyes, and here the meandering of the veins in the cellophane wings was quite unexpected. I do, however think I'd find it much more difficult to enjoy looking at this fly's maggot offspring... one of the few creatures in nature that gives me the willies!

beadbabe49 said...

It is gorgeous...great photo!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
That buzzing lazy song of the blow fly up in the tussock on a still day always seems to be with me. beautiful photo.

pohanginapete said...

RR, good point. This one had just finished cleaning itself (well, at least its front legs). Still, I wouldn't feel much like eating something it had just landed on.

Miguel, that's a good point too. Perhaps that's another challenge: to photograph a blowfly maggot in a way that makes viewers think, "That's beautiful". Might require a bit more work ;^)

Thanks Beadbabe!

Robb, that's a lovely image, particularly on a rainy day like this.