As bluntly summarized by a psychologist over a century ago, everyone knows what attention is [James (1890). The Principles of Psychology]. Attention describes our capacity to focus perception on one or a group of related stimuli while filtering out irrelevant stimuli. The ease we have in recognizing this astounding capacity in ourselves is matched by a surprising difficulty in identifying it in others, and this is especially the case for measuring attention in other animals. Identifying and measuring attention-like processes in simple animals such as flies requires, to some extent, even more rigor than asking the same question for our closer animal relatives, such as apes and monkeys. This is because flies have completely different brains than humans do, so to study attention in these creatures one must rely purely on operational or behavioral measures rather than comparative neuroanatomy. There is a long history of using sophisticated behavioral paradigms to study visual responses in Drosophila melanogaster, and these studies have often provided early evidence of attention-like processes in flies. More recently, these fly paradigms have been applied to measuring visual attention directly, and the combination of electrophysiology with these preparations has provided insight into how a fly might pay attention. Together with more efficient methods for measuring some aspects of attention, such as stimulus suppression, these approaches should begin to uncover how visual attention might work in a small brain.