Calliphoridae - Bluebottles, Greenbottles, Blowflies

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BRACHYCERA, Muscomorpha Schizophora Calyptratae, Oestroidea

Number of British species: 38

Size: S-L

Difficulty: 2-3



The family most probably does not represent a natural systematic grouping and hence is not easy to characterise unequivocally. It includes small to large (4-16 mm), usually robust flies. Many species have a greenish or bluish metallic lustre with some silvery, yellowish, or golden pruinosity in a variable pattern in some species the body colour is greenish yellow, polished black, occasionally without metallic sheen. Head, body and legs often with strong bristles, in Pollenia thorax clothed with yellow curly hairs. Arista usually long plumose in at least the basal two-thirds, rarely pubescent. The shape of the lower calypter is strongly variable, ranging from well rounded-triangular to elliptic; wing always with vein M1 curving forward; cell r4+5 open or closed at the wing margin rarely with a very short petiole. Meral bristles always present and subscutellum distinctly absent, that is, the part below the scutellum is flat, not convex; it is usually separated from the scutellum by a membranous part; posterior spiracle covered by an anterior and posterior lappet, usually of unequal size with the posterior lappet usually forming an operculum.


Many species develop in carrion of various origin. Eggs are frequently deposited on dead vertebrates making some calliphorids important in forensic entomology. The larvae can be: true obligate agents of myiasis in vertebrate animals (e.g. Lucilia bufonivora Moniez on amphibia) and humans (Dermatobia, in the Tropics); necrophagous to faculta�tive agents of myiasis (Calliphora, Cynomya, Lucilia, e.g. L. sericata (Meigen) in sheep, Phormia, Protophormia); parasites of earthworms and other worms (Bellardia, Onesia, Polleniinae), snails and slugs (Angioneura, Eurychaeta, Melinda, Melanomya), or egg clusters of grasshoppers (Stomorhina); or parasites sucking blood from bird nestlings (Protocalliphora). The adults are often found on flowers, plant detritus, carrion and dung. Two species, Pollenia rudis (Fabricius) and Protophormia terraenovae (Robineau-Desvoidy) sometimes occur indoors in large numbers, looking for a shelter to survive the winter.


families/brachycera/calyptrates/calliphoridae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:01 (external edit)     Back to top
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