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Name: Joye
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Question:
We are a public library and have had a question regarding house flies. The question is "How high in the atmosphere can a house fly, fly?



Replies:
Joye,

The easy answer depends on the type of plane in which the fly is flying :).

The serious answer is that simply put, insects in general restrict their existence to an area where they can effectively feed and reproduce with a degree of success. You will not find insects, or organisms in general, existing in areas unsuitable for feeding and/or reproduction. The joke above about the plane is actually serious. Within an airplane, the insects can feed and reproduce and feed in the microniches created by dropped or lost food. Once the food is found and discarded, there is nothing to support the survival of the insect, and they will die.

Your question probably does not have an exact answer. The question to ask yourself is :what would cause a fly to want to fly higher that a particular height close to the earth? Does the altitude offer the means of survival (food, comfortable temperature for itself and developing offspring, and environment which will provide an ongoing dependable source of food) ? If not, the insect would not itself 'choose' to waste energy flying to an altitude which separates itself from the means of survival.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Richard R. Rupnik



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