Monday, 19 November 2012


Flies were out in force yesterday in the Pocket Park, congregating on sun-warmed tree trunks and fence posts. Around half of them were Callophorids, commonly known as blowflies, and a large percentage of those ending up in my net proved to be Calliphora vicina. The specimen shown is a male, recognisable because its eyes are holoptic, i.e. they almost meet in the middle.

We generally dislike blowflies - with good reason, since they frequently visit faeces or carrion. But it is for this reason that they are important as their maggots help in the task of decomposition, ridding us of corpses and poo. The larval cases of another Calliphorid, Protophormia terraenovae, have been found in Shropshire in association with the remains of Woolly Mammoth. The insect still occurs in Britain but I have yet to find it in Northamptonshire. Perhaps there aren't enough mammoths around.

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