By Victoria Gill
The mid-air hunting strategy of a tiny fly the size of a grain of rice has been revealed by an international team of scientists.
Holcocephala, a species of robber fly, is able to intercept and “lock on” to its prey in less than a second.
Researchers used high-speed cameras to show exactly how the fly positioned itself to capture a moving target in mid-air.
The results are published in the journal Current Biology.
Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido from Cambridge University explained that, normally, “when we think of hunting animals we think of excellent vision and speed, but when you’re so very tiny, you have a very small brain and limited sensory capacity”.
She added: “We wanted to know how [this fly manages] this predatory behaviour.”
Dr Gonzalez-Bellido and her colleagues created a miniature outdoor studio – filming the fly from two angles to capture its movement in 3D.
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