Overview

Brief Summary

The blue bottle fly is a common blow-fly. The fly is stout and medium to medium-large size, and about 1/2 inch long. Its head and thorax are gray and the abdomen is a bright metallic blue. Its eyes are red and its body and legs are black and covered with black bristle-like hair. Larvae are eyeless and legless and are pale yellow to white in color. They are tapered from the large, rounded rear segment to the head.

The blue bottle fly is found in pastures, barnyards, gardens, and rotting material. This species is widespread and common.

  • Blue bottle: Calliphora vomitoria (The PLANT PRESS, Natural England)
  • Descriptions of Families of Flower-Visiting Flies (In: Insect Visitors of Illinois Flowers, Copyright 2002-2007 John Hilty)
  • Blow Flies In: Common Kentucky House Flies, Blow Flies, Flesh Flies, & Tachinid Flies (Blake Newton In: The Kentucky Critter Files, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky)
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Physical Description

Type Information

Holotype for Calliphora rubrifrons Townsend, 1908
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Pinned
Collector(s): H. Wickham
Locality: Stickeen R.; Can.; B.C, British Columbia, Canada
  • Holotype: 1908. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 51: 116.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Holotype for Calliphora pseudovomitoria Baranov, 1943
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Year Collected: 1932
Locality: Croatia; zagreb, Hrvatska, Yugoslavia
  • Holotype:
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Associations

Flowering Plants Visited by Calliphora vomitoria in Illinois

Calliphora vomitoria Linnaeus: Calliphoridae, Diptera
(observations are from Robertson and Graenicher)

Aceraceae: Acer saccharum [oozing sap] (Rb); Rosaceae: Crataegus mollis sn (Rb); Santalaceae: Comandra umbellata sn (Rb); Smilacaceae: Smilax ecirrhata sn/fp (Gr), Smilax herbacea sn/fp (Gr)

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

The female blue bottle fly lays her eggs where she feeds, usually in detritus. Larvae, also called maggots, hatch from the eggs and begin feeding on the decomposing matter where they hatched. After a few days of feeding they are fully grown and crawl away to burrow into soil or dry matter to pupate into tough brown cocoons. After 2-3 weeks, the adults emerge to mate. During cold weather, pupae and adults can hibernate until warmer temperatures revive them.

  • Blue bottle: Calliphora vomitoria (The PLANT PRESS, Natural England)
  • Descriptions of Families of Flower-Visiting Flies (In: Insect Visitors of Illinois Flowers, Copyright 2002-2007 John Hilty)
  • Blow Flies In: Common Kentucky House Flies, Blow Flies, Flesh Flies, & Tachinid Flies (Blake Newton In: The Kentucky Critter Files, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky)
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Supplier: Bob Corrigan

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Calliphora vomitoria

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 15 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACTAATCATAAAGATATTGGTACTTTATACTTTATTTTTGGAGCTTGATCAGGAATGATTGGAACTTCATTA---AGAATTTTAATTCGAGCTGAACTAGGGCATCCTGGAGCATTAATTGGAGAT---GATCAAATTTATAATGTAATTGTTACAGCTCATGCTTTTATTATAATTTTTTTTATAGTAATACCAATTATAATTGGAGGGTTTGGAAATTGATTAGTTCCTTTAATA---TTAGGAGCCCCAGATATAGCATTCCCTCGAATAAATAATATAAGTTTCTGACTTTTACCTCCTGCATTAACTTTACTATTAGTAAGTAGTATAGTAGAAAACGGAGCTGGAACTGGATGAACTGTTTATCCACCTTTATCTTCTAATATTGCACATGGAGGAGCTTCTGTTGATTTA---GCTATTTTTTCTTTACATTTAGCAGGAATTTCTTCAATTTTAGGAGCTGTAAATTTTATTACTACAGTTATTAATATACGATCAACAGGTATTACCTTCGACCGAATACCATTATTTGTTTGATCAGTAGTAATTACAGCCTTATTACTTTTATTATCTTTACCAGTATTAGCAGGA---GCTATTACTATATTATTAACAGATCGAAATCTTAATACTTCATTCTTTGACCCAGCAGGAGGAGGAGATCCAATTTTATACCAACACTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGTCATCCTGAAGTTTATATTTTAATTNNNNCTGGATTTGGAATAATTTCACACATTATTAGTCAAGAATCAGGAAAGAAG---GAAACTTTTGGTTCATTAGGAATAATCTATGCTATATTAGCTATTGGATTATTAGGATTCATTGTATGAGCTCATCATATATTTACAGTAGGAATAGACGTTGATACACGAGCTTATTTTACATCTGCAACTATAATTATTGCTGTACCAACAGGAATTAAAATTTTTAGTTGATTA---GCAACTCTTTATGGTA
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Calliphora vomitoria

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 33
Specimens with Barcodes: 71
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Pollinator

Although blue bottle fly larvae eat carrion, the adult flies frequently feed on flowers with exposed nectaries. Pollen grains become attached to the flies' body hair and are moved from flower to flower as they search for nectar, a process known as incidental pollination. Typically the blue bottle fly visits flowers with a strong odor often resembling rotting meat. Plants pollinated by the fly include the American pawpaw (Asimina triloba), dead horse arum (Helicodiceros muscivorus), skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), and members of the carrot family like Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota).

At the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS) in Ames, Iowa, both the blue bottle fly and the common house fly (Musca domestica) are used to pollinate plants of the carrot family in the field and greenhouses. Several farms have used blue bottle flies to successfully pollinate vegetable crops including carrots, broccoli, lettuce, and canola. As managed pollinators, the blue bottle fly is non-aggressive to humans; the pupae are cheap to purchase and can be stored for three weeks; and the flies work in smaller areas and at cooler temperatures than bees. For these reasons, the blue bottle fly is actually being used as an alternative to bee pollinators.

  • Pollinators at NCRPIS (USDA Agricultural Research Service, North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station)
  • Descriptions of Families of Flower-Visiting Flies (In: Insect Visitors of Illinois Flowers, Copyright 2002-2007 John Hilty)
  • Farm Report, May 2004 (In: Seeds of Change eNewsletter 41, The Cutting Edge)
  • Bluebottle Flies as Pollinators in Greenhouses of High Tunnels (In: The Vegetable and Small Gazette, Volume 4, Number 12, December, 2000, Horticulture Department, The Pennsylvania State University)
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Wikipedia

Blue bottle fly

"Bluebottle fly" is also a common name for the species Protophormia terraenovae.
A closeup of the fly.

The bluebottle fly or bottlebee (Calliphora vomitoria) is a common blow fly found in most areas of the world and is the type species for the genus Calliphora.[2] Similar species include the greenbottle fly, a close relative that can be distinguished by its bright green metallic colouring. Bluebottle fly adults feed on nectar, while the larvae feed on carcasses of dead animals. Adults are also pollinators to some flowers with strong odor.

Description[edit]

A blue bottle fly dropped into water and escaping.

It is 10–14 millimetres (0.4–0.6 in) long, slightly larger than a housefly. The head and thorax are dull gray and the abdomen is bright metallic blue with black markings. Its body and legs are covered with black bristle-like hair. It has short, clubbed antennae and 4 tarsi per leg. The eyes are red and the wings are transparent. The legs and antennae are black and pink. The chest is bright purple and has spikes to protect themselves against other flies. These insects like to fly in packs in order to detect possible prey more efficiently. If one fly detects food, it will disperse a pheromone which will alert the others to the meal.[citation needed]

Life cycle[edit]

A female blue bottle fly lays her eggs where she feeds, usually in decaying meat, garbage, or faeces. Pale whitish larvae, commonly called maggots, soon hatch from the eggs and immediately begin feeding on the decomposing matter where they were hatched. After a few days of feeding, they are fully grown. At that time they will crawl away to a dry place where they can burrow into soil or similar matter to pupate into tough brown cocoons. After two or three weeks, the adults emerge to mate, beginning the cycle again. During cold weather, pupae and adults can hibernate until higher temperatures revive them.[3]

They are pollinators of some flowers with a strong odor such as skunk cabbage and goldenrod.[citation needed]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Calliphora vomitoria". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 31 May 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Kurahshi, Hiromu (May 28, 2007). "109. Family CALLIPHORIDAE". Australasian/Oceanian Diptera Catalog. Hawaii Biological Survey. Retrieved May 31, 2008. 
  3. ^ http://www.flexiblepestservices.com/bluebottle-fly
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