• Identifying Features

    A fly consist of three body parts: head, thorax, abdomen. One pair of fully developed wings and hind wings (knob-like structures) which are used to maintain equilibrium. Adult mouth parts are sponging, lapping, or piercing All adults look like flies, but some may have a metallic color (blue bottle fly). Antennae may be difficult to see.

    Adult Males and Females

    Males and females are hard to tell apart. Females are usually larger and can extend the tip of the abdomen to form an ovipositor which is used to reproduce. Sometimes males have enlarged eyes which meet on top of the head.

    Food

    Flies feed on decaying meat and feces. Adult flies feed on sugary food of any kind, including nectar and rotting fruit.

    Habitat

    Flies live in areas of disposal and wherever animal feces is present. Dead animals attract flies within hours after death. Most flies are diurnal.

    Predators

    Many birds, bats, spiders, and insects such as dragonflies eat the adults. Predatory and parasitic insects eat the larvae.

    Impact on the Ecosystem

    Positive

    Flies and other insects, such as burying beetles, are very important in consuming and eliminating dead bodies of animals. Flies are also essential in the conversion of feces and decaying vegetation to soil. Flies serve as prey to many other animals. Some flies aid in pollination.

    Negative

    Because of their habits of being attracted to feces and decaying meat, flies have been implicated in transmission of disease such as dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera.