Muia

cluster-fly1

Οὕτω δὲ ἰσχυρά ἐστιν*, ὥσθ’ ὁπόταν τι δάκνῃ, τιτρώσκει οὐκ ἀνθρώπου δέρμα μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ βοὸς καὶ ἵππου, καὶ ἐλέφαντα λυπεῖ ἐς τὰς ῥυτίδας αὐτοῦ παρεισδυομένη καὶ τῇ αὑτῆς προνομαίᾳ κατὰ λόγον τοῦ μεγέθους ἀμύσσουσα. μίξεως δὲ καὶ ἀφροδισίων καὶ γάμων πολλὴ αὐταῖς ἡ ἐλευθερία, καὶ ὁ ἄρρην οὐ κατὰ τοὺς ἀλεκτρυόνας ἐπιβὰς εὐθὺς ἀπεπήδησεν, ἀλλ’ ἐποχεῖται τῇ θηλείᾳ ἐπὶ πολύ, κἀκείνη φέρει τὸν νυμφίον, καὶ συμπέτονται τὴν ἐναέριον ἐκείνην μῖξιν τῇ πτήσει μὴ διαφθείρουσαι. ἀποτμηθεῖσα δὲ τὴν κεφαλὴν μυῖα ἐπὶ πολὺ ζῇ τῷ σώματι καὶ ἔμπνους ἐστίν.

* sc. ἡ μυῖα

(Lucian, Muias Enkōmion 6)

So strong is the fly that when she bites she wounds the skin of the ox and the horse as well as that of man. She even torments the elephant by entering his wrinkles and lancing him with her proboscis as far as its length allows. In mating, love, and marriage they are very free and easy. The male is not on and off again in a moment, like the cock; he covers the female a long time. She carries her spouse, and they take wing together, mating uninterruptedly in the air, as everyone knows. A fly with her head cut off keeps alive a long time with the rest of her body, and still retains the breath of life. (tr. Austin Morris Harmon)

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