By Thailan Pham KYLE SMITH Kristen Mascia Beth Perry
April 12, 2010 12:00 PM

>• “We don’t know insects very well, even the ones that eat our food and share our beds,” writes anthropology professor Hugh Raffles in Insectopedia. He shares some surprising facts:

FLIES THINK FAST

It seems that a fly’s brain processes information much more quickly than ours. That’s why it’s hard to catch them: They see our hand coming down very slowly, giving them plenty of time to get away.

DRAGONFLIES USED TO BE DRAGON-SIZE

Prehistoric ones had wingspans of 30 inches—probably because there was more oxygen in the air back then.

SPIDERS GET HIGH

They make silk balloons to launch themselves into the air, catching currents to get as far up as 15,000 feet.

BEES AREN’T ALWAYS BUSY

They spend nearly half their time just hanging out in the hive. It’s not clear exactly what they’re doing.

“DANCE FLIES” HAVE SMOOTH MOVES

Males seduce females by offering a gift—usually a dead insect wrapped up in a silky package.

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