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Green Bottle Fly

Lucilia sp.


Green bottle fly, Lucilia,  photo © by Mike Plagens

This Green Bottle Fly was among the hordes of butterflies, bees, wasps and flies taking nectar at Desert Broom (Baccharis sarothroides) along Rackensack Wash in n.e. Maricopa Co., Arizona, Oct. 2009.

Calliphoridae -- Blow Fly Family

The exquisite design and striking irridescent green exoskeleton of the adult Green Bottle Fly arises through metamorphosis of the immature maggot, an earlier larval stage that obtained its nutrients and energy from carrion, the decomposing remains of a mammal or bird. Adult flies suppliment the stores left over from the larval stage with sweet nectar at flowers and other liquids lapped up from carrion, feces and other wastes. With high energy sugar-nectar they follow the faintest trails of scent on the winds to their source where they will mate and lay the eggs to become the next generation.

Green Bottle Flies of one or more species are found in the Sonoran Desert and World-wide, but expertise is required to identify to exact species. Because blow flies are often the very first insects to discover a corpse, the development of the larvae (maggots) can be used to nearly pinpoint the time of death.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009