zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog forensic entomology

The Insect Crown Witness

Crucial testimony without words

Many years ago I spent several highly enjoyable and educational months on the Trobriand Islands (nowadays also referred to as Kiriwina Islands) off the coast of the south-eastern end of Papua New Guinea. The islands became famous, because of Bronislaw Malinowski’s 1929 ethnographic book “The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia”. Local residents over there display a considerable knowledge concerning insects and their lives and on several, occasions I was warned not to drink from this or that stream because a particular insect had been sighted on or near the water, indicating a poor status of the water’s drinkability. I was also warned not to proceed any further into the jungle, when a particular species of fly was spotted that occurred when an animal corpse was somewhere nearby. —>

zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog life eyes flies Florian Nock

Horny Fly Eyes

“Fly eyes are the better to see you with”

When Little Red Riding Hood in the Brother Grimm’s fairy tale of the same name asked the big bad wolf: “But Grandmother, what big eyes you have,” the wolf replied: “The better to see you with, my dear”. But there was no suggestion that the wolf had horny eyes. And wolves in Malaysia (if there ever had been any) also would not have them. However amongst the many truly weird looking insects that occur in Malaysia there are the “Stalk-eyed Flies” and these flies, as their name suggests, do possess eyes at the end of surprisingly long stalks which project laterally from their heads like the horns of a Watusi cow. —>