|MadSci Network: Zoology|
In general insects cannot fly as fast as most people think. This illusion is a result of their small size. The fastest insect clocked accurately was an Australian dragonfly at 57.6 km/hr (36 mph). Horse flies can travel at 24-40 km/hr. House flies are much slower, about 8 km/hr. Oddly, C. H. T. Townsend calculated the speed of deer bot flies on a Mexican mountain slope at over 960 km/hr! He was impressed by the blur they made as they passed by. However, in reality these insects travel at about 19 km/hr. If they traveled at the speed Townsend calculated they would loose their wings due to shear and splatter themselveds on trees, rocks, or even their host! Reference: Berenbaum, M. R. 1995. Bugs in the System. Addison-Wesley Pub., Reading, Massachusetts. Farb, P. 1962. The Insects. Time-Life Books, New York.
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