Singular Swarms of Flies

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Abstract

MR. FROUDE'S letter (p. 103) forcibly reminds me of a swarm of flies which overlaid every one who was on the parade at Ventnor, and drove numbers off the pier on the forenoon of a day which certainly fell on or between May 13 and 16, 1891. My diary bears only witness to the fact that I was then at Ventnor, but I shall never forget that as I went towards the black clouds I met a venerable friend, whose white hair, beard, and light coat were literally blackened with flies. The natives, who had had previous experience of such a cloud, ascribed it to the “mackerel fly.” My colleagues in the entomological department of the British Museum told me I had witnessed a flight of Bibio Marci (St. Mark's fly), and, on reading up the subject, I found no reason to doubt that they had made an accurate diagnosis of a slightly and imperfectly told story.

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BELL, F. Singular Swarms of Flies. Nature 48, 127 (1893) doi:10.1038/048127c0

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