Flies are not everyone’s favourite animals, probably because most people immediately think of troublesome bluebottles and blowflies. But of the 7000 known species in the UK only some are pests and disease vectors. Most are beneficial, being important predators of other pests, as pollinators and as food for other animals. The larval forms of many species are involved in the decay of organic matter and therefore play a vital role in the recycling of nutrients in the soil.
W. H. Hudson, in his book, Nature in Downland, published in 1900 by Longmans, Green & Co, observed that flies have wildly eccentric behaviour and wrote ‘if they grew to the size of ducks and geese we would spend our whole time watching their amazing, meaningless antics; nothing else would be talked about or even thought about in the world and we would become strictly nocturnal in order to get out of their way or else we should go mad.’