Singular Swarms of Flies

Article metrics


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.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.