The lake is basic. The wet diving that lives there is not.
The salt lake swallowed a fly. I know why it eats flies, and it’s safe to say that neither the lake nor the fly dies early.
California’s mono lake is three times bigger than the Pacific Ocean and very basic. Chemically, that’s it. It’s opposite to the pH of an acid. The lake is filled with alkaline alkaloids, which make water soap.
Even people who wash clothes in water use built-in foam to remove dirt and grease from their clothes instead of soap. The lake, 76 million years old, is so chemically strange that no fish swim underwater and algae bloom beneath it.
In this fishless gap in the food net, the base flies high. The smooth surface of the ocean hides plenty of food, but no predators. So this alkaline fly evolved in a very surprising way, wandering around in a beverage, and then emerging like the California desert.
California institute of technology
In proceedings of the national academy of sciences, “an article published at the California institute of technology found how flies handle this trick because so many monsters can’t cope with the high alkaline water in a single lake.
They found that, like other flies, alkaloids have small hairlike structures and coatings that cause water to slide off the back. But unlike other flies, including flies and flies, these insects have more hair and more waterproof coating. This combination means that when the fly swells under water, it can trap a small bubble around it.
Air bubbles help maintain the energy consumed by flies through strong surface tension. Insects must apply 18 times more weight to get into the water, but bubbles can help them float back to the surface.
“It is not the Mono Lake fly that has developed a novel and unique method of retaining hydrophobicity, but the use of traditional tools has expanded most insects,” biologist and author Michael dickinson said in a news release. “This is a killer show, and underwater nothing can eat, and you have all the food you want, you might just need to sneak into the most difficult in dry land water is ok, so enjoy a very unique life history of how the small changes in the physical and chemical changes in order to let the animals to occupy a new niche, this is amazing.
Flies face a greater human threat. From 1941 to 1982, as fresh water poured into Los Angeles, the water became saltier. The increased saltiness doesn’t seem to affect the fly’s ability to move in water, but other studies suggest chemical changes may affect the larvae.
Fortunately, the increase in salinity is easing through conservation efforts and rainfall in California. But that’s not all. In their study, the authors noted that a layer of sunscreen fell from the skin into the lake and wondered what effect the oil might have on flies. The results of laboratory tests, they wrote, were “disastrous”, trapping flies in water and eventually drowning them. Fish oil has a similar effect.
So if you’re looking for sunscreen in lake Mono, consider flies before you dip your body into the water. Wetting may be fine, but flies can die if they don’t stay dry.