Relevant to our earlier discussion, google search statistics suggest “flies” should be able to hold their own against “ants” in the public eye.

Caveat: additional meanings of “flies” (such as, the conjugate of the verb ” to fly”) may overestimate the fly tally.


  1. #1 neil
    September 22, 2008

    Wow, the periodicity on the ants curve is really striking. Is that tracking a spring surge in home ant invasions? (In Davis this seems to be more of a winter phenomenon).

    Also, who knew that the Estonians were obsessed with ants?

  2. #2 myrmecos
    September 22, 2008

    After playing around with other insect groups, it seems that many track the northern hemisphere summer. That flies don’t makes me think that there may be some spurious searches in there.

  3. #3 asj
    September 23, 2008

    “Also, who knew that the Estonians were obsessed with ants?”

    They’re not…look at the right hand side of the fuill page in google and notice that google is looking at many different languages and “ant” may refer to another noun in estonian.

    Using google to track popularity is many times completely useless.

  4. #4 Beetles In The Bush
    September 23, 2008

    Of course, those same statistics suggest that the beetle is indeed cooler than the ant 😉

  5. #5 neil
    September 23, 2008

    Indeed, “Ants” is apparently a common Estonian name (something I sort of expected: once again tongue-in-cheekiness misfires across the blogohedron).

    More interestingly, despite the obvious drawbacks of the tool, the phenological patterns are blowing me away!

    Check out:

    Fleas vs. Ticks

    Hummingbirds vs. Oriole (note the fall migratory peak for hummingbirds)

    a pretty awesome anticorrelation that you could set the U.S. academic calendar by.

  6. #6 Bjoern Brembs
    September 23, 2008

    One fly is a genetic model organism (which probably explains the dip in the fly graph around every christmas)…

  7. #7 myrmecos
    September 23, 2008

    Neil: that’s about the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen (socrates vs. girls gone wild).

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