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Flesh Fly

Flies in the family Sarcophagidae are the Flesh Flies, so-called because many species lay their eggs in open wounds.

Flesh Fly

Flesh Fly

Flesh flies are very common and are difficult to distinguish from the “house fly” in the family Muscidae. A rule of thumb: flesh flies usually have 3 black lines on their thorax; true house flies have 4. Although they are called flesh flies, not all of the flies in this family develop in wounds. Many are associated with carrion, and some are parasites of beetles and other insects.

Flesh flies usually have gray bodies with three black stripes on the thorax. The abdomen has a light and dark gray checkerboard pattern and is often red at the tip. Though some species may be smaller than house flies, most flesh flies are about 10 to 13 mm long.

Flesh Fly

Flesh Fly

Adult flies do not bite but feed on a wide range of liquid substances. Most larvae infest wounds, carrion or excrement. The larvae of some species of flesh flies are beneficial in that they prey on eggs, nymphs, or larvae of more harmful insects. Lesser house fly larvae, blow fly larvae, and grasshopper nymphs are common hosts of flesh flies.

They are usually the first insects to arrive at a dead animal carcass and are similar to blow flies in both larval and adult biology and habits. Flesh flies are attracted to sources of decay around the home, including garbage dumpsters, compost piles and dead animal carcasses. These odors bring them into close proximity to homes where they may invade through openings such as doors and windows or cracks and crevices.

Life Cycle :The life cycle of flesh-fly larvae has been well researched and is very predictable. Different species prefer bodies in different states of decomposition, and the specific preferences and predictable life cycle timings allows forensic entomologists to understand the progress of decomposition and enables the calculation of the time of death by back extrapolation.

Flesh Fly larva

Flesh Fly larvae

This is done by determining the oldest larva of each species present, measuring the ambient temperature and from these values, calculating the earliest possible date and time for deposition of larvae. This yields an approximate time and date of death. This evidence can be used in forensic entomology investigations and may assist in identification of a corpse by matching the calculated time of death with reports of missing persons. Such evidence has also been used to help identify murderers.

Disease:Flesh flies can carry leprosy bacilli and can transmit intestinal pseudomyiasis to people who eat the flesh-fly larvae. Flesh-flies, particularly Wohlfahrtia magnifica, can also cause myiasis in animals, mostly to sheep, and can give them blood poisoning, or asymptomatic leprosy infections.

Flesh Fly larvae

Flesh Fly larvae

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