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Common Name: Scientific Name: Order: Family: Introduction:

Flesh fly Sarcophaga crassipalpis Macquart Diptera Sarcophagidae

Flesh flies are commonly found in warm tropical areas, although they do occur in places not suitable for most flies. They are closely associated with humans (synanthropic) and they have been known to enter houses to colonize cadavers. Like their name demands, these flies depend on live or dead tissue to complete their life cycle. This family of flies is attracted to many types of dead vertebrate remains, including humans. Of the 2,000 known species, 327 are in the United States. Sarcophaga crassipalpis Macquart is commonly used in laboratories to study gene expression, and physiological processes. It also has a major impact in other sciences including parasitology and forensic entomology.

This species was originally found in temperate climates such as the Paleartic ecozone (Iberian Peninsula, Arabian Peninsula, Japan), but is now established in the Neartic ecozone, which includes most of North America and Greenland.. Due to its enormous geographical distribution, this species has been described as "nearly cosmopolitan". Although the probability of laboratory lines of this species escaping and multiplying in the wild is minimal, fresh wild strains can be collected and incorporated into laboratory colonies due to its cosmopolitian distribution. They breed in excrement, decaying vegetable matter and animal flesh or meat.

Feeding Habits:
Adult flies do not bite but feed on a wide range of liquid substances. Most larvae infest wounds, carrion or excrement. The larvae of flesh flies are beneficial as 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.

Life Cycle:
Flesh fly mating occurs most commonly in spring. Flesh fly eggs remain inside a females abdomen until they hatch, at which point females deposit larvae into manure or decomposing flesh. Each flesh fly species prefers different bodies, with varying decomposition stages. Regardless, each egg-laying site is carefully selected to ensure an abundance of food for the larvae.

A single female can produce hundreds of eggs during her lifetime and more than 25 larvae may hatch at one time. Depending upon the species, eggs may hatch within 24 hours and the entire life cycle of the flesh fly may be complete within one to three weeks. Larvae are yellow in color, with pointed heads. They thrive in decaying meat, manure and garbage. Some flesh flies prefer to breed inside dead rodents and birds found in attics, crevices and wall voids. Flesh fly larvae feed for approximately four days. After feeding, larvae of flesh flies pupate. While some pupae remain dormant for several weeks, most species emerge as adults within 12 to 15 days.

The adult ranges in size from 9 to 13 mm. This fly is typically a light grayish color with three black stripes on the thorax. Unlike females, males are more hairy, with robust front legs that assist in their attempts to copulate. Like many flesh fly species, their "tail" or abdominal end is red for both males and females. The front femora are slightly larger than those on the remaining legs and often have a light gray coloration. Adults also have a distinctive black strip with golden or yellowish margins between their eyes.

The pupa ranges in size from 5 to 10 mm, and color tends to be relative to the age of the pupa. In general the darker the color the more advanced the fly is in pupal development.

In the final instar, the larval body ranges from 9 to 13 mm in length. Spiracles are located on plates set inside a cavity or pit on the posterior end.

Control and Elimination Measures for Flesh Flies:

The burial or destruction of carcasses, manure heaps and mounds of decaying organic matter eliminates many favorable breeding sites. Proper treatment of wounds also

helps to prevent flesh fly harm to animals. Locate and eliminate all possible breeding sources. Flesh flies feed and breed on dead animals and garbage. Whenever possible, food and materials on which the flies can lay their eggs must be removed, destroyed, as a breeding medium, or isolated from the egg-laying adult. Killing adult flies will reduce infestation, but elimination of breeding areas is necessary for good management Proper sanitation measures must be taken with dumpsters and rodent control with flesh flies. Proper screening and maintenance of doors and windows should be adopted. CB 80 Pyrethrin Aerosol (Pyrethrin spray) can be used as a quick kill, reducing populations of flying insects.
Recommended residual Insecticides:

Demon WP or Cyper WP are wettable powders, mixed with water to spray exterior surfaces where flies would land, sprayed once a month. Wettable powders will show up visible on dark surfaces Use Cyonara 9.7 if you are concerned about the visiblity on dark surfaces. Cyonara 9.7, Demon WP or Cyper WP would all work equally well. These electronic fly traps are very efficient and functional to be used inside only.

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 helps in the calculation of the time of death by estimation. 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.