Blue bottle fly
|Blue bottle fly|
|Calliphora vomitoria. Female|
Calliphora vomitoria is 10–14 millimetres (0.4–0.6 in) long, slightly larger than a housefly. The head and thorax are dull gray, the back of head has long yellow-orange setae and the abdomen is bright metallic blue with black markings. Its body and legs are covered with black bristle-like hair. It has short, clubbed antennae and 4 tarsi per leg. The eyes are red and the wings are transparent. The legs and antennae are black and pink. The chest is bright purple and has spikes to protect itself from other flies.
Similar species include the greenbottle fly, a close relative that can be distinguished by its bright green metallic colouring.
A female blue bottle fly lays her eggs where she feeds, usually in decaying meat, garbage, or feces. Pale whitish larvae, commonly called maggots, soon hatch from the eggs and immediately begin feeding on carcasses of dead animals and on the decomposing matter where they were hatched. After a few days of feeding, they are fully grown. At that time they will crawl away to a dry place where they can burrow into soil or similar matter to pupate into tough brown cocoons. After two or three weeks, the adults emerge to mate, beginning the cycle again. During cold weather, pupae and adults can hibernate until higher temperatures revive them.
Bluebottle fly adults feed on nectar and they are pollinators of flowers, especially with a strong odor often resembling rotting meat. They mainly pollinate skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), American pawpaw (Asimina triloba), dead horse arum (Helicodiceros muscivorus), goldenrod and some species of the carrot family.
These insects like to fly in packs in order to detect possible food more efficiently. If one fly detects food, it will disperse a pheromone which will alert the others to the meal.
Its larva, used as fishing bait, is called a maggot, while its pupa, also widely used for bait, is called a caster.
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- Kurahshi, Hiromu (May 28, 2007). "109. Family CALLIPHORIDAE". Australasian/Oceanian Diptera Catalog. Hawaii Biological Survey. Retrieved May 31, 2008.
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