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Common Green Bottle Fly (Lucilia sericata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Common Green Bottle Fly

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The metallic green Common Greenbottle Fly can bring help, health, or harm depending on who you are talking to.

Updated: 09/20/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Adult Common Green Bottle Flies drink nectar and help pollinate crops like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, onions, and kale. Adults are a metallic green color. Some have shades of yellow on their shiny bodies. All have black hairs sparsely covering the body and large red eyes. The timing of this species' life cycle is well-studied and useful information thanks to its diet and habitat.

Common Green Bottle Fly larvae eat from the carcasses of dead animals. Knowing the size and life stage of the maggots makes their presence at a crime scene useful in timing the decomposition of corpses. This species of adults is one of the first flies to arrive on a corpse. Thanks to short lives, they move through various life stages in days, not weeks or years, offering valuable information to forensic teams. Maggots have also been used medicinally to clear rotting tissue from humans when surgical options are ineffective or impossible. When placed in an infected, necrotic area, the maggots carefully devour the dead tissue, sparing the healthy tissue, thereby cleaning the wound. This same species, however, is detrimental to sheep. Larvae have caused sheep strike, a health concern created when they invade the healthy skin of sheep and cause sheep death if left untreated.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Shiny insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Calliphoridae
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          Genus: Lucilia
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            Species: sericata

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Lucilia sericata
Other Name(s): Sheep Blow Fly
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 10mm (0.35" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; yellow
Descriptors: fast; shiny; metallic; flying; hairy

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 9mm (0.4in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 9mm
Md: 9.5mm
Hi: 10mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Common Green Bottle Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Common Green Bottle Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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