Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Calliphoridae (Blow Flies, Screwworms, and Cluster Flies)

There are 1,600 known species in the world. To accurately ID them to species level requires counting the bristles.

Blow flies are indispensible in assisting with decomposition; they are the first insects to arrive at a dead body. They can smell a carcass from nearly 10 miles away. This first response also means they are the first to lay eggs. When the meat is covered with their eggs or larvae, it is considered “fly blown,” which is how they get their common name. To fishermen, these larvae are known as “gentles.”

Development of the eggs, larvae, and ultimately the adult is temperature dependent. Interestingly, the feeding of the larvae, raises the temperature of the carrion, which speeds up the emergence of adults.

Calliphorids attack all types of mammals from living to dead, some they feed on bodily secretions while others are parasites. Parsitic Calliphorids tend to be very species specific.

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