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Writing > Users > Michael K > 2008

Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction


The following is a piece of writing submitted by Michael K on July 7, 2008

The Migratory Goose Fly

You've probably heard of house flies, horse flies, deer flies, and the like, but I'll bet you've never heard of the Migratory Goose Fly. This is one of the strangest bugs you could imagine.

The life cycle of the Migratory Goose Fly begins in the Southern United States, and in parts of Mexico (I'll tell you in a minute how the odd little buggers get there in the first place). They reside there for several weeks, undergoing a complete metamorphosis from egg to larva to pupa to adult.

I won't give you the details of the larva and pupa stages; it's a bit grim and grisly, and if you have a weak stomach, you'll thank me for leaving out that part of the life cycle.

The adult Goose Fly is about a eight millimeters long, and has remarkably powerful wings. Upon reaching adulthood, the fly immediately begins flying north.

Up through the central part of the United States, further north, and still further, passing through the cold northern states of Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and Maine, and continuing on into British Columbia, Ontario, and all the other frigid Canadian provinces, the Goose Fly continues his journey without hesitation or pause.

When do they stop? They never do. These foolish flies seem to have an urgent need to continue flying north, but without any apparent purpose. They fly until the cold becomes too much for them, and when they can feel death approaching, they briefly alight on a passing Canadian Goose and deposit eggs on its wings. Unwittingly, the Goose carries the eggs among its feathers until it reaches the South and the life cycle continues for another generation.

Meanwhile, the adult Goose Fly simply freezes to death in mid air, and plummets to the ground and dies. Scientists have yet to discover a reason for this strange northward migration; it is as though the flies are having a competition - a marathon of sorts - to discover which of them has the greatest endurance, which one can survive the greatest amount of cold weather.

Ironically, scientists who have captured live specimens and studied them in laboratory conditions, have discovered that, without the extreme cold of the north, these little flies would live to be about 25 to 30 years of age. Instead, in the wild, their entire life span is limited to the amount of time it takes them to freeze to death.

I know what you're thinking: What kind of idiotic creature would spend its entire life in the pursuit of such self-destructive goals?

Personally, I don't think they're all that much different from us.

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