Species category: Flying pest
Scientific name: Calliphoridae
Typically, blue, black or green these insects have a metallic sheen. They are slightly larger than common houseflies but they have some similarities. Common Australian urban blowfly pest species include; Calliphora, Chrysomya, Lucilia and the species belonging to the family Sarcophagidae, which are very large blowflies and called flesh flies with 'checkerboard' patterns on their abdomens.
Blowflies are prevalent all across Australia and some species are native, most are present in many other temperate regions of the world.
Blowflies can travel for miles in search of the perfect egg laying site and will stay close to that site, laying multiple batches of eggs. They are often on the scene of an animal death within a very short space of time.
The term 'blow' refers to the tendency of this insect group to lay their eggs (oviposit) or lay live larvae (larviposit) on human food, dead animals or animal waste.
Blowflies feed on a variety of foods but the larvae more commonly live on decomposing organic matter. They play an important role in the breakdown of animal tissue. Maggots found in exposed meat or animal carcasses are almost always from blowfly species. Presence of Sarcophagid adults indicates a dead animal is nearby.
Due to their lifestyle and preference for decaying organic matter, blowflies are vectors of a wide variety of pathogens of harmful diseases. They transmit diseases and bacterial infections to both humans and animals.
Certain species are particularly harmful to sheep if they access an open wound. They eat the decaying flesh of the wound and inflame it, in some cases causing blood poisoning.