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Common Green Bottle Fly (Lucilia sericata/Phaenicia sericata)

Common Green Bottle Fly
Lucilia sericata (Phaenicia sericata)
(Order Diptera; Family Calliphoridae)

Lucilia sericata (Phaenicia sericata), female (photo taken by Rachel Havlik)
(Kansas: Sedgwick County. Derby, 37°33’23.45’’ N, 97°15’06.10’’ W. In home around light fixture. May 24, 2013).

Adult diagnosis: Adult blow flies are just under a centimeter in length and are characterized by metallic green, bronze or blue thorax and abdomen coloration. The thorax of the insect is covered in black bristles. Eyes are pronounced and red. Wings are clear and membranous with typical dipteran wing formation-two large flight wings and two small hind wings reduced to halteres. Adults have cross grooves on the thorax which are characteristic of the species.

Male Lucilia sericata (Phaenicia sericata). (from:

Female Lucilia sericata (Phaenicia sericata). (from:

Adult Natural History: Blow flies in general can be helpful for crime investigations to determine time of death or Post Mortem Index. Adults arrive at carcasses in a known sequence and this is useful to forensic scientists since they can note the stage of development flies are undergoing on a corpse. Females oviposit/lay eggs in carrion or excrement. Since fly larvae feed on necrotic tissue, they can sometimes be pests of open wounds on livestock or humans.

Distribution: Adult blow flies are seen from spring through fall perched on buildings, flowers, and dead carcasses where females deposit eggs. They can be found in almost every habitat pertaining to moderate and temperate climate throughout the United States and are found in moderate to temperate climates throughout the world. Blow flies can be found in tropical regions as well.

Distribution map of Lucilia sericata (Phaenicia sericata) in the United States. (from:  

Habitat: Blow flies prefer moderate, temperate and tropical climates mainly. They are especially common in the southern hemisphere but can be found in all warm, moist climates and coastal regions.

Diet: Larvae blow flies feed exclusively on carrion and excrement where they develop after hatching from eggs. Adult blow flies feed on flower nectar. Swarming of females on carcasses or excrement is common.

Larva of Lucilia sericata (Phaenicia sericata)

Conservation Status: The common blow fly is considered very stable-not endangered.


Common green bottle fly (Calliphoridae: Lucilia sericata [Phaenicia sericata]) under a microscope.

Common green bottle fly (Calliphoridae: Lucilia sericata [Phaenicia sericata]) collecting around a dead carcass for feeding.


Insectoid Info:

Orkin-Pest Control:

Encyclopedia of Life:


Wikispaces-Digital Insect Collection:

Anderson, Matthew., and Kaufman, Phillip E. 2011. (On-line). University of Florida: Entomology and Nematology. <>.
Padelford, Loren. 2008. (On-line). Nature Search. Fontenelle Nature Association. <>.
Salsbury, Glenn A. and White, Stephan C. 2000. Insects in Kansas. Kansas Dept. of Agriculture.

Submitted By: Rachel Havlik, November 2013

Wichita State University
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