Blue Bottle Fly

Calliphora vomitoria

Blue Bottle Flies are from the Blow Fly family. They are larger than house flies, growing about half an inch long. Their head and thorax (front and middle sections) are gray, the abdomen (large rear section) is bright metallic blue. They have red eyes and clear wings.

Blue Bottle Flies live just about anywhere, including woods, fields, parks, and farms. They seem to prefer shady places. Blue Bottle Flies often enter homes.

This fly eats from dead animals or meat, living animals with open wounds, animal poop, or some other decaying matter.

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After mating, the female Blue Bottle Flies lays her eggs in the same place she feeds, usually in a dead animal. The eggs quickly hatch, and the young larvae, called maggots, eat immediately. The maggots are whitish with small black hooks to tear flesh with. Their saliva helps dissolve (melt) the flesh so they can eat it more easily.

After a week or so of feeding, the larvae crawl away to a dry place and burrow a little ways into soil. They then become pupae (resting stage). Pupae are tough brown coccoons.

After two or three weeks, adult Blue Bottle Flies come out of the pupae.

Blue Bottle Flies breed often during the warm months. Both larvae and pupae can live through the winter, but adults die when it gets too cold.

Blue Bottle Flies sometimes lay eggs in the wound of a living animal. The larvae, when they hatch, eat from the host animal. This is called "myiasis" and can cause infections in the animal.

Because these flies are attracted to foul-smelling things, like dead animals and poop, they sometimes fly to plants with bad-smelling flowers (like Greenbrier) or fungi (like Elegant Stinkhorn). Blue Bottle Flies end up helping these organisms because they transport pollen or spores so that they can grow new plants or mushrooms.

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Predators of Blue Bottle Flies include spiders, birds, and bats. Larvae and pupae may be eaten by beetles or centipedes.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Blue Bottle Fly's Head Under a Microscope
Link to Image
Uglybug.org

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

White-tailed Deer

Black and Yellow Argiope

Skunk Cabbage

Greenbrier Po

Red Fox

Wood Frog

Elegant Stinkhorn F

Raccoon

American Toad

Death Cap F

Virginia Opossum

Garden Centipede

Skunk Cabbage Po

Woodchuck

Pennsylvania Firefly

Virginia Snakeroot Po

Eastern Cottontail

Big Brown Bat

Bald Eagle H

Skunk Cabbage

Eastern Worm Snake

Dung Beetle EC

Virginia Snakeroot

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Chinese Mantid

Great Crested Flycatcher

Spring Peeper

Harvestman

Southern Leopard Frog

White-throated Sparrow

Common Whitetail

Spined Micrathena

Bald-faced Hornet

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Fragile Forktail

Relationship to Humans:

Blue Bottle Flies can be annoying when they fly into homes and land on meat intended as food. But most of the time they are a great help to people. By eating dead animals, poop, and other unpleasant things, they get rid of them for us. Without bottle flies and other creatures decomposing these items, they would just sit there grossing us out. Once Blue Bottle Flies' larvae begin eating, a dead animal stops smelling almost immediately.

Another way Blue Bottle Flies help us is when scientists study them on a dead person's body. This may sound unpleasant, but the presence of bottle fly larvae can tell us how long the person has been dead, and this information is used as evidence when crimes have been committed.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Diptera
FAMILY
Calliphoridae
GENUS
Calliphora
SPECIES
Calliphora vomitoria

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