Do Flies Have Brains? Are Flies Foolish Or Not?

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Oct 21, 2022 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 28, 2021
Animals lovers, have you wondered, do flies have brains?

The brain is known as the CPU of the body.

Just like a computer's CPU, the brain too, controls all the operations of the organs of the body, whether it be in humans or the tiny bodies of insects. The nerve cells that control the operations of the brain are known as neurons.

The brain is said to be the information center of the brain and thus, it controls everything from behaviors to movement, to even memory.

The brain of a fly despite being a tiny organ is known to play a vital role in the usage of the sense organs. Researchers and scientists have suggested that the fly brain is vital in locating food, and similarly in finding a favorable mating partner.

All the neurons form intricate neural cell circuits, mainly in the central region of the brain.

The development of the brain in the fly is said to have been a long process, and thus, development along with the evolution is said to have started millions of years ago.

Among all flies in the world, the brain cells also contains light sensing receptors, whose sole purpose is to filter out light and help with sight. The fly's brain in the central region has almost 25,000 neurons with over 20 million connections, thereby making the brain, the most complex organ of the body.

Researchers are still trying to understand and learn more about the brain cell of the fly in a more comprehensive and detailed way.

If you find our content interesting and informative then check out, where do flies come from? And when do mosquitoes go away?

Do horse flies have brains?

Whenever we hear the word 'brain' the first thought that appears in our head is that of a human brain. Similarly, when we comprehend a very small animal like a fly or a mosquito, we can hardly paint a mental image of these minuscule animals having brains.

However, insect science researchers have discovered that flies all across the world, do have brains that contain thousands and thousands of neurons. It is assumed that a fly's brain is said to contain nearly about 100,000 neuron cells.

Research has shown that the size of a fly's brain is approximately around 0.01 in (250 micrometers) in length.

Scientists’ findings discovered that under a high powered microscope, the fruit fly brain, the brain of the Drosophila, showed even the minute details at the cellular level. Scientists suggest that the central portion of the entire brain was said to contain around 25,000 neurons with over 20 million connections between them.

The brain of the fly, upon studying under a microscope, has shown similar neural circuits as that of human systems, though being extremely less in number. The science of the biology of the brain dictates that the control center of the body is the brain, and it is responsible for complete movement, support, memory, and basic behavior.

The basic trace of an idea can also be credited to the brain, which controls the entireity involuntary actions.

Do flies have brains and hearts?

In the history of medical science, the brain and the heart are considered to be the most important of all organs in the body. Be it that of adult humans or small insects, the brain cells and the heart control all the actions of the body.

The heart helps to circulate blood throughout the body, while the brain cell, i.e. the neuron, sends impulses all over the body, which also helps to control other necessary functions.

The interconnected networks of neurons form close knit connections all over the body and help to transfer messages from the brain to the organs and vice versa. These connections of neurons are also known as neural circuits.

Just like neurons, the blood is also circulated via the network of veins and arteries that create a web-like system throughout our body. In humans, veins carry deoxygenated blood from the body and take it to the heart, while the arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body.

However, the heart in the case of flies is a lot different. Humans have a very complex four-chambered heart that purifies and helps in the transportation of blood.

In the case of flies, it is completely different.

Though many components of the human heart can be found in that of a heart of fruit flies, the heart of the latter is a lot more simple in nature. It is shaped like a tube that stretches to the abdomen of the fly.

The heart contains intake valves that are essential to control the backflow of the blood and to allow the blood to flow freely in the body. The heart descends into the abdomen and evolves into the aorta.

How similar are human brains to that of the brains of fruit flies?

The brain of a human being is completely different in comparison to that of a fruit fly. Humans are a much evolved and significantly, a greater animal in terms of the development chain. Thus, the brain of humans is more detailed and more complex in nature.

Now, let us compare the brains of these two organisms, the fly and the human.

For a human being, the brain is one of the most important organs of the entire body.

Known as the information center, the brain controls all the involuntary actions, movements, thought processes, memory, as well as the ability to perceive senses. The human brain is such a complex organ that the number of neurons in a human brain can be compared to the number of stars that are present in the Milky Way Galaxy.

It is estimated that there are around 200-400 billion stars in our home galaxy, while there are almost 86 billion neuron cells (nerve cells) present in the brain of each human being on Earth.

The human brain is divided into three distinct parts, namely the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the medulla oblongata. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and it is divided into two different parts, the left, and the right hemisphere.

The cerebrum can also be called the memory center as it not only stores all of our memories but also is responsible for our behavior and in expressing our emotions, reasoning, functions, movements, speech, and other associated functions. The cerebellum is small in shape and is located just under the cerebrum.

This portion has many nerve cells.

The nerve cell is also called a neuron, and their main function is movement and motor skills. It also maintains the equilibrium of the entire body.

The third portion of the brain is the medulla oblongata, which is located at the base of the brain and acts as a bridge between and the brain and the spinal cord. The medulla oblongata is responsible for the proper functioning of involuntary functions like respiration and cardiovascular operations.

Can flies think?

In any animal that can process its own conscience, it has to possess the ability to think or thus equivalently have thoughts. Here we will learn whether the fly brain is capable of processing thoughts or not.

Insects are said to have small brains, which might even be microscopic in nature. The fly brain is very simple in comparison to a human brain (which is capable of executing detailed and intricate thoughts).

The brain of this insect is said to contain around 100,000 neurons.

After conducting numerous studies by eminent scientists all over the globe it has been discovered that whether flies can think and process their thoughts on their own is not accurately justified.

It should be considered that flies, however, are known to experience subjective experiences that are one of the biggest forms of having consciousness thereby leading scientists and researchers to believe that flies could have thoughts.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do flies have brains? Then why not take a look at why do gnats fly in your face, or fruit fly facts pages?

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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