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I was wondering, for a speculative evolution project, what could be the bare minimum amount of organisms the common housefly needs to survive? Could they just feed on grass? Or should I add a flowering or fruiting plant?

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  • $\begingroup$ Adult houseflies cannot chew, so their ability to consume grass is quite limited. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Mar 4 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ Houseflies don't eat other organisms. In fact, they cannot eat anything at all -- their mouthparts are highly specialized to suck liquids. Houseflies are adapted to be comensals of human beings; they live by sucking the carbohydrate rich crumbs which we inevitably leave around. If the crumblet is solid, they dissolve it with saliva and suck the sugary solution. So, no, houseflies are very highly specialized. Choose a more basal holometabolous insect. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 4 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the help! Its a shame I cannot put houseflies, but I guess it wouldnt work. Thanks :) $\endgroup$ – Schwefel Kamm Mar 4 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ Considering the 24 hour lifespan of flies, I wouldn't say the length would be cut short too much.to worry about how long it will survive. $\endgroup$ – hszmv Mar 4 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean 24 hour life span? They live for about a month iirc $\endgroup$ – Schwefel Kamm Mar 4 at 18:20
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Common house flies would need something to break down grasses into some rotten form with enough nutrition support them. Maggots mostly eat bacteria in rotting material -usually meat, but fungus could work. This is why people sometime use maggots to clean wounds (gross, but true). I would probably say you would need a variety of bacteria and at least one kind of fungus to make the system tie together. There are fungi that attract various species of flies, but they're mostly related to fruit flies. Still, it's not impossible. Most people wouldn't even see or understand there was fungus or bacteria present.

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If that's truly what you're asking, the bare minimum number of organisms any species, including the common housefly, needs to survive is one.

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