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Canada's Species   Insects

Blow Flies

Family Calliphoridae

Green bottle fly (Phaenicia sericata). Photo:Stephanie Boucher
Green bottle fly (Phaenicia sericata). Photo:Stephanie Boucher

The larvae live and feed on carrion or dung. Some of the species are beneficial by breaking down these substances and recycling the nutrients and a few species that feed on dead and infected tissues have been used in the treatment of osteomyelitis in humans. Others act as vectors of diseases and some species such as the screwworm fly feed on living tissue and when the eggs are laid in wounds or nostrils they may cause serious damage to its host. Calliphoridae are robust medium to large sized flies, often with metallic blue or green on the abdomen and thorax. One common species, the cluster fly, has a dull, non-metallic body with silky yellow hairs on the thorax. They have a well developed calypter at the base of each wing.

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